Height of apathy: UMTA sits on projects worth ₹1.53 lakh crore

Decade-old projects see minimal progress despite hiring 17 well-paid retired urban planners

HYDERABAD: The Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) has failed to make progress in key infrastructural projects which would change the face of the city, including the Metro Rail line to the Shamshabad airport, last mile connectivity for Metro Rail, high speed rail connectivity in the Hyderabad-Warangal-Vijayawada-Chennai corridor and bus rapid transport system (BRTS) in the MGBS-Nehru Zoological Park route.

Despite several warnings from the municipal administration and urban development department, the UMTA has failed to conduct feasibility studies of the projects worth Rs 1,53,365 crore, even after two years of the proposals being made.

The UMTA had prepared a comprehensive transport report (CTR) by hiring Delhi-based LEA Associates South Asia Pvt Ltd at a cost of Rs 15.24 crore a decade ago. According to the CTR, the Metro Rail should run for 417 km in the Hyderabad metropolitan area, which includes the existing project, bus rapid transport system for 438 km and the multimodal transport system (MMTS) should be extended up to 438 km, which includes 47 km of the existing service.

The CTR elaborated on transportation plans for metro rail, BRTS, multi-modal transport system and high-speed intercity rail corridors among others.

Highly placed sources said, these decade-old projects could see minimal progress despite hiring 17 well-paid retired urban planners. In the span of two years, the UMTA has just managed to conduct a feasibility study pertaining to the Metro Rail last mile connectivity ignoring all other projects.

A senior UMTS official, requesting anonymity, told Deccan Chronicle that during a recent review conducted by the special chief secretary and MA&UD principal secretary Arvind Kumar, it was learnt that the UMDA had not even embarked on conducting a feasibility study for two years. He said that the UMTA officials told Kumar that they would soon hire consultants to conduct feasibility studies for all the pending projects.

“Irked by the official's response, Kumar asked why the department had hired officials and paying them high wages when UMTA was supposed to hire a consultant? Amid confrontations, the meeting ended on a heated note,” the official said.

The UMTA has to prepare feasibility study for the Rs 84,520 crore pending Metro Rail project, Rs 6,415 BRTS project, Rs 39,620 crore project connecting highways passing through the city, Rs 4,750 crore for bus transport, Rs 3,390 crore for bus terminals and Rs 11,390 crore for traffic management.

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