HYDERABAD: Having initially shown preference for the metro rail over the Multi Modal Transport System (MMTS), GMR, operator of the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, has now warmed up to the railways and has agreed to an MMTS railway line to its doorstep.
After a marathon meeting held on Thursday night between officials of the government, GMR and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), which will execute the 71 km MMTS phase-II project, a consensus was reached, senior officials said.
The MMTS phase-II involves multiplication and electrification of existing railway lines on Tellapur-Patancheru, Secunderabad-Bolarum, Sanathnagar-Moula Ali, Moula Ali-Malkajgiri-Sitaphalmandi, Bolarum-Medchal and Moula Ali-Ghatkesar sections as well as a new railway line from Umdanagar to the international airport (6.7 km) was also to be laid in this phase. But when RVNL issued tender notifications in April calling bids for the execution of the works, it left out the Umdanagar-airport section. This was reportedly due to GMR preferring the swankier metro rail over the MMTS. However, it now seems like the government has managed to convince GMR to go ahead with the MMTS.
“GMR has agreed in principle for the MMTS line. They asked to be allowed to choose the location of the terminal station on their premises,” said transport commissioner D Lakshmi Parthasarathy. Of the 6.7 km line, the last 3 km is said to be airport land.
RVNL officials said that GMR has asked for two months to determine the location of the station. “GMR representatives said they need time to appoint a consultant who would determine the location of terminus on their land in order to facilitate easy passenger movement into the airport. Once the location has been determined, we will work out the alignment to connect to Umdanagar,” said P Srinivas, chief project manager, RVNL.
This, however, does not mean curtains on the metro rail-airport connectivity. Well placed sources said that GMR is also keen on having metro rail connectivity and may choose the location of the MMTS station with metro rail in mind. However, the metro rail is not immediately in the offing as the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited is not keen on adding new routes to the ongoing work.
When contacted, a GMR spokesperson said, “The discussion on MMTS is at an early stage of development. We are exploring the proposal with us to evaluate its feasibility. We will revert to the authority once our evaluation is done.”