The Hyderabad Metro Rail on Monday commenced operations on the 16-km Ameerpet-LB Nagar line along one of the busiest corridors in the city. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan flagged off the train at the Ameerpet station in the presence of Telangana Municipal Administration Minister K T Rama Rao, other ministers and top officials.
With the 46-km length operational, the Hyderabad Metro has become India's second largest metro rail network after Delhi. The 30-km stretch between Uppal and Miyapur is already in operation since November 2017.
The Ameerpet-LB Nagar line completed the first corridor of the elevated Metro Rail from LB Nagar to Miyapur (29 km), connecting the north-western and the south-eastern parts of the city through its core.
The 16-km stretch thrown open on Monday has 17 stations. It passes through one of the most congested traffic corridors, which includes areas like Lakdi-ka-pul, Assembly, Nampally, Moazzam Jahi Market and Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS), Malakpet and Dilsukhnagar.
The metro station which has come up at MGBS is one of the biggest in Asia. The interchange station across Musi River connects corridor I (Miyapur - L B Nagar) and Corridor II (Jubliee Bus Stand-Falaknuma) It is still under construction.
A key feature of the Ameerpet-LB Nagar stretch is the proposed development of 5 km heritage precinct between Assembly and MGBS with Deccani stone pavers, railings in Indo-Persian architectural style and period street furniture.
According to officials, the metro train at an average speed of 32 kmph initially would cover the 29-km distance in 52 minutes against two hours by road.
The initial frequency of one train every five minutes will be increased to 2 minutes gradually.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Hyderabad Metro in November 2017 with the commencement of service on the Uppal-Miyapur route. According to officials, an average of 85,000 passengers were using the metro service on a daily basis.
KTR said that with the commencement of operations on the second route, the ridership will cross 2 lakh.
The opening of Ameerpet-LB Nagar marks a key milestone in the development of the 72-km elevated metro project.
Billed as the largest metro project in the world in Public Private Partnership (PPP), it is being built by infrastructure giant L&T at a cost of over Rs 14,000 crore.
Narasimhan wanted officials to complete the Ameerpet-HITEC City stretch by December 15.
The governor said that the metro serves various purposes like good health, recreation and utility and urged people to make metro a habit for stress-free and comfortable life. He said every station should become a tourist spot, where people can spend their evenings, eat and shop. With shopping malls coming up at metro stations, the people can buy all their commodities while returning home from offices, he added.
KTR described the Hyderabad Metro as the best metro in the country with modern technology, good quality and innovation.
The minister said metro stations had world-class amenities and multiple transport options for first and last mile connectivity. Bicycles and electric vehicles have also been provided at the stations in addition to the other modes of transport.
He said the state government was spending Rs.3,000 crore on land acquisition for the project while the central government has chipped in with Rs.1,450 crore as Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for Rs 14,132 crore project.