Hyderabad: An amount of Rs 144 crore is pending for release from the Centre to L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (L&THMRL) immediately as part of the viability gap funding. This is causing a lot of financial stress, senior officials of L&T told Chief Secretary Dr S.K. Joshi in a meeting.
A request of Rs 650 crore advance payment has also been made to the state government to tide over the financial crisis. The total viability gap funding was Rs 1,458 crore of which Rs 1,204 crore has been released. The pending amount is Rs 254 crore of which Rs 144 crore is stated to be the immediate payment.
The discussions with the finance and urban development ministries were held at the Centre and the financial viability report was prepared by IIM Bengaluru for independent assessment of the viability gap funding.
A report was submitted in October but there has been no release of funds. Chief Secretary Dr Joshi stated that the matter would be presented to the empowered committee of the Centre to expedite the release of funds.
With the fund crunch being severe, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has been creating pressure in the matter of collection of advertisement tax and property tax from the company. The introduction of ‘special S’ category has increased the taxes abnormally. The concessionaire is exempt from paying local taxes but there was a mutually agreed tariff despite that the Metro Rail is being billed in special category, officials said
For the property tax, L&THMRL had got exemption, but still the GHMC bills them a service charge, stated the officials. Dr Joshi has asked that advertisement tax must be collected according to the mutually agreed terms and for the property tax the format of South Central Railway has to be followed. A senior L&T official said, “The issues with the GHMC for property and advertisement taxes have been a problem for the last two years. Even after starting the operations, the advertisement revenue can’t be increased due to these hurdles. If it was cleared, the company would have started generating money and it would have helped to manage the finances.”
The revenue collection from the price of tickets is not very high and it does not help to meet the costs that the company has incurred in construction and also in operations. The total cost is Rs 18,800 crore....