Metro was supposed to be a boon to a city that was seeing high growth in private vehicles. Many households had 1,2, and even four vehicles in all, be it cars or two-wheelers. And this was not just the well-heeled. So, a decade back in 2010, Metro was lauded as a panacea to all commuting troubles of Hyderabad people.
Cut to 2017; the year Metro became operational. A 72 km stretch was estimated to transport about 16 lakh people daily. For the same, the government procured lands, properties and anything that was necessary for the smooth progress of laying metro lines. To make things easy, they introduced ‘right to the way’.The initial plan was that about 16 lakh people would travel in three routes by 2021. However, nearly a decade after the project took off, barely 10,000 people are using the Metro. Right now, due to corona, the situation is worse. To add to it, the metro trains run between 7 am, and 8.45 am these days, causing inconvenience to many.
Last year, prior to lockdown, 4.5 lakh people were commuting between LB Nagar, Miyapur, JBS, MGBS, Nagole, Rayadurgam. So, the metro owners felt that at least 8 lakh commuters would use Metro this year, considering the least. Instead, the world-class infrastructure is lying vacant like white elephants.
The project was taken up with an estimated Rs 17,000 crore. However, it has been losing around Rs 1 daily, according to sources. Also, all the money raised by the metro authorities from banks and other financial bodies has now bloated into huge debts.
Covid has struck a deadly blow to the public transport system in the country. And so is the case with Metro. It remains to be seen if the metro authority will be able to sustain itself at least towards the end of this year.