Metro in Old City: HMRL lists 5 tentative station locations; 103 sensitive structures on route

Days after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao instructed officials to expedite works towards metro rail connectivity to the old city, the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) has chalked out tentative locations for five Metro stations and listed 103 religious or sensitive structures on the route. Work for the 5.5 km stretch was not taken up though it has been years since the rest of Hyderabad Metro Phase-1 was completed and operationalised.

HMRL managing director N V S Reddy said preparatory works for undertaking metro rail work in the old city have been initiated as instructed and that land acquisition notices to 1000-odd properties will be issued in a month.

According to him, the alignment is planned from MGBS to Falaknuma via Darulshifa junction – Purani Haveli – Ettebar Chowk – Alijakotla – Mir Momin Daira – Haribowli – Shalibanda – Shamsheergunj and Aliabad. Five stations are to be located near Salarjung Museum, Charminar, Shalibanda, Shamsheergunj and Falaknuma. With this, the originally planned 11-km green line (corridor 2) connecting JBS in Secunderabad and Falaknuma in the old city will be complete. At present, the corridor connects JBS and MGBS and has a ridership of about 25,000 passengers a day.

Reddy clarified that two metro stations are named after Charminar and Salarjung Museum even though they are located about 500 metres away from them, given their importance and pride of place in the city.

The Phase-1 works were stopped at MGBS without proceeding towards the old city due to several reasons ranging from property acquisition and demand for a change of route alignment. The presence of religious and heritage structures on this stretch has also been a reason cited often for the delay.

According to HMRL, there are 103 religious and other sensitive structures including 21 mosques, 12 temples, 12 ashoorkhanas, 33 dargahs, seven graveyards and six chillas on this stretch. Reddy said that through engineering solutions like adjustment of curvature, viaduct design and heights, suitable alteration of metro pillar locations etc., all the religious/sensitive structures have been saved except four.

CM KCR and Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao are learnt to have instructed the HMRL to consider further engineering refinement to the metro rail alignment to save the four religious structures that face the threat of being razed.

“To save the religious or sensitive structures, road widening will be restricted to 80 feet. Learning from the Phase 1 project in the rest of the city, the road will be widened at the station locations to 120 feet. Preparation of individual sketches of the 1000-odd affected properties has started and land acquisition notices will be issued in about a month,” N V S Reddy added.

After KTR tweeted on July 9 about the CM’s instructions to HMRL and L&T to expedite the works on this corridor, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi welcomed the decision saying it would help the people of the old city and also bring in tourism. Meanwhile, BJP state president G Kishan Reddy called it an election gimmick that will see no action “under pressure from its friend & ally – the MIM.”

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