Hope, doubt and despair before Metro
The nay-saying environmentalists are ready to march as a man against the Metro. But youngsters, the infotech crowd and builders are waiting for the big commute to be turned small, Serish Nanisettifinds out
PHOTO : NAGARA GOPAL
Ugly or ‘pagal’ The newly-constructed Punjagutta flyover has eased flow of traffic from the central gridlock. Will the Metro spell similar magic with traffic?
“Miru enta chesina traffic taggadu (whatever you do, the volume of traffic will not come down),” says Y. Prabhakar about the Metro (Mass Rapid Transit System if you will) project. Then he lobs a logic bomb: “Are you ready to give up your mobile comfort and travel in MRTS?” he asks. For someone who averages 100 km travel everyday, living in Vidyanagar and working near Ravindra Bharati for an MNC, his logic is impeccable if cynical.
Take a different spin. Drive up and down the new flyover that connects Rd no 1 and Rd no 3, Banjara Hills to Somajiguda and the drivers have broad smiles. “Five bottlenecks (one before the Rajiv Gandhi statue, then near TBZ, then the Panjagutta signal, then near Y2K bakery and then before the Nagarjuna circle) have gone in one day. I used to curse the flyover when they were building it. Now as the cab zips on the flyover in a few minutes, it is a real delight,” says P. Radhika who works in an IT consulting firm in Gachibowli.
These are the hopeful lot, the infotech workers who have started to calculate their commutes in hours and minutes and not in kilometres.
“We have to put up with some discomfort for the greater good. Hyderabad is in a state of flux. A lot of changes are needed to solve our current problems with spiralling growth. Citizens must be patient and cooperate with the authorities so that they can get things done as soon as possible. We have to work together,” says Maya Aripirala who works for a MNC in Madhapur.
“Roads being bad for sometime is something we can probably cope with as long as it’s not for years together because we are quite used to roads being under construction for most of the year :) But damaging heritage structures is a big no-no. Cities like Hyderabad with such a rich history are rare. In fact, we should take more initiatives to protect these structures,” says Ruthu Sreebashyam, an infotech employee who is forced to commute for long hours.
“Yes it will improve life... I hope the officials have learnt from their mistakes while building flyovers. Demolitions have happened several times in the past also, and as a city we have weathered it. So I would say let’s move forward. Having said that the government should be responsible about what buildings need to be demolished, what compensation needs to be handed out and they should also be organised while dealing with traffic,” says Mayuri Amarnath.
Among the Doubting Thomas is environmental activist Maj Shiva Kiran: “How do we quantify the benefits from the project? MRTS is not the panacea for all problems. We have to look at other solutions including Bus Rapid Transport Scheme (dead in Pune, stillborn in Delhi) and a parallel track to the existing track of MMTS,” he says. “This appears like a knee-jerk reaction. Metro will take about eight to ten years to be ready. With a project of this size the implementation is not assured. Something else happens,” he says unconvinced about the project.
The builders lobby is delighted with the project. Having bought vast tracts of land on the fringes of the city, they know that the arid dryland where a blade of grass would not grow is a money-mine once the Metro links are in place.
One such builder is Raja Reddy who is now quoting Rs. 2700 per sft for apartments in Uppal (just two years back Rs 600 would be a high price). “You have to pay 10 per cent upfront and within eight months all the money has to be paid,” he says linking the unborn project to unborn Metro.
But as Dante says: “All hope abandon, ye who enter in!” the only difference between hell and heaven is hope.
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* Three corridors, 71.06 kilometre project to be ready in five years.
* 71,000 pillars just for the track, or is it 142,000 pillars for the twin tracks? Imagine the traffic chaos throughout the city.
* One station every kilometre, 71 stations another thousand pillars.
* Then, imagine five years down the line travelling from Uppal to Madhapur in 30 minutes.
* The project cost in 2005 was Rs. 6366 cr., in 2007 it was Rs. 8482 cr now it is Rs. 10,000 crore. The final cost is anyone’s guess.
* The Metro is supposed to pull 11,65,00 two wheelers off the road per day.
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