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‘Green signal’ for part of MMTS phase-II?

Officials hope railways might clear extension of line from Falaknuma to Umdanagar at least



Heartline: Better days are expected for the MMTS services in the coming months.

HYDERABAD: When Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad presents his sixth budget, citizens of the twin cities are hoping steps will be taken to improve the MMTS services and also clear phase two project.

The project along with formation of a special purpose vehicle to improve the suburban rail services has been lying with the Railway Board for more than five years. Even the government’s offer to fund two-third costs of phase two has not moved it, so far.

Officials are hoping that the railways might clear extension of the line from Falaknuma to Umdanagar at least, which is about 4 km from the Shamshabad international airport, without electrification. The 15-km stretch, when laid, would ensure that the suburban services are taken closer to the airport. It is expected to cost Rs. 75 crore and electrification works can be taken up by the government as the stretch forms a part of the phase two work. The idea elicited a positive response from a senior Railway Board official during his recent visit, say officials. The MMTS second phase is now estimated to cost more than Rs. 600 crore, up from Rs. 365 crore when it was conceived. It entails development of Secunderabad-Medchal-Manoharabad (41 km), Secunderabad-Ghatkesar-Bhongir (46 km), and Falaknuma-Shamshabad International Airport (20 km) and Lingampally-Patancheru (8 km).

Alternative route

Officials are also mulling over laying of an alternative route between Shankarpally and Bhongir for the freight trains so that the railway lines inside the city are kept free to run suburban services with more frequency. Currently, eight freight trains up and eight empty ones in return, travel each day through the Bhongir-Ghatkesar-Moula Ali-Secunderabad-Sanathnagar -Lingampally-Shankerpally sector taking coal and cement to plants in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

“If the 80-km distance between Shankarpally and Bhongir is rail connected, it will save energy enough to fund the project cost,” remarks an official. But, a concrete proposal is yet to be sent to the Railway Board.

In fact, the Moula Ali bypass line has become part of the mainlineandif the new route is done, it will provide chance to have more suburban services to Alwal, Bolarum and environs, officials point out.

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