L&T continue to face roadblocks in Rs.16000 Crore Hyderabad Metro Rail project

Hyderabad (HYD): Six months after the Telangana government moved to placate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) following its notice to pull out of the Hyderabad metro rail project it is implementing, numerous state government arms continue to intimidate the engineering company.

Despite constant monitoring by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and frequent review meetings chaired by the Telangana chief secretary, several state government departments refuse to cooperate with L&T, which is building India’s largest metro rail project. Earlier L&T, which started construction on the Rs 16,000-crore project in 2012, threatened to pull out of the project in September 2014, a development that had the potential to tarnish the image of Hyderabad and Telangana as a business-friendly destination.

Raising concerns over falling resources of the new state after the bifurcation and the weakened position of Hyderabad in drawing investments, L&T wrote: “The change in the status of Hyderabad has resulted in a significant change in the economic and political outlook of Hyderabad, thereby causing material adverse impact on the financial viability of the (Hyderabad metro rail) project.”

Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who is believed to be a staunch believer of Vasthu and fan of heritage structures of Nizam kings, continues to insist on changes to alignments at key locations. Government officials, who had forced the developer to stop work at contentious locations, however, took several months to communicate the official decision on the proposed changes to the alignment.

Apart from not providing the required right of way in time for the smooth progress of metro rail works, state government departments frequently stopped work, alleging violations by the developer or its sub-contractors and even seized construction equipment. While L&T claims to adhere to the norms of the National Fire Protection Association, the state fire services department insists on the developer to stick to National Building Code norms.