After the Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) services in Hyderabad were shut down in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the suburban trains are yet to restart. Commuters who used to depend on MMTS have started expressing their frustration with the matter by demanding that the South Central Railway restart the service.
Those who rely on the MMTS, as it is a cheap and accessible mode of transportation, have appealed to the railway authorities, but have not received a positive response yet. While the state Ministry of Railways has cited the pandemic as a reason to delay the recommencement of services, MMTS users respond with examples of other forms of public transport resuming, as well as suburban trains in cities like Mumbai and Chennai.
Speaking to TNM, Vijayaraghavan, a regular MMTS user said, â€śThe state government has resumed all the services like Metros and buses, but only MMTS has not been resumed yet. Due to this, the traffic on roads has increased.â€ť
Vijay, a resident of Secunderabad, added, â€śFor me, to travel towards Gachibowli, this is the cheapest and easiest option. When the suburban trains in both Chennai and Mumbai are functioning, why not allow them here, too? In fact, services in Mumbai have been running for a long time with protocols.â€ť
Noor Ahmed Ali, General Secretary of the cityâ€™s Train and Bus Travellersâ€™ Association pointed out, â€śBesides resuming the services of MMTS, the government should expedite works for MMTS phase-2 as well. How long will the public have to wait?â€ť The lines included in MMTS phase-2 are Moulali to Ghatkesar, Secunderabad to Medchal, Tellapur to Ramachandrapuram, Moulalai to Sanathnagar and Fakalnuma to Umdanagar.
â€śThe delay in MMTS phase-2 is highly disappointing. Most of the works like electrification etc is done, but the project has come to a halt as the state government is yet to pay their share in the project. The government should acknowledge the plight of poor people who want an affordable ride to various parts of the city,â€ť Noor Ahmed Ali alleged.
Earlier in January, Union Minister and MP from Secunderabad Kishan Reddy had written a letter to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, asking him to release the funds for the completion of the second phase of the MMTS. The previously estimated cost of the project was Rs 816.55 crore, out of which the Union government released Rs 544.36 crore and the state government spent Rs 129 crore. According to the minister, the state government needs to release another Rs 414.4 crore to complete the project.
Speaking to TNM, an official from the South Central Railway said, â€śThe services of MMTS will begin only following orders from the Ministry of Railways. It is also the responsibility of the state government to write to the Ministry, detailing the COVID-19 situation in the state and seek their approval. The state government should be more proactive in taking these steps if the public are facing problems.â€ť