The Telangana state government extended the service of the Hyderabad Metro Rail Managing Director, NVS Reddy by one year, on Friday, with effect from June 30.
This will be his second extension, after a similar one last year.
Speaking about the extension, Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Navin Mittal, told media persons, “NVS Reddy as the Managing Director of the project has successfully tackled various contentious and sensitive issues, and satisfactorily handled the hurdles that were encountered in the implementation of the project so far."
Reports add that Reddy, was an Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) officer who was absorbed into the state government service in 2008.
However, even as the extension orders came, the state has remained largely mum about when the first phase of the HMR will be thrown open to the public.
The entire project should have been completed and operational by July 2017, as per the concession agreement signed with the then united Andhra Pradesh government in 2010.
However, the HMRL has said that the main reason of the delay was due to land acquisition issues, following which the deadline was revised.
Additionally, the Telangana government itself had demanded the realignment of the metro on two of the three corridors, to save religious structures, in 2014.
In March this year, Reddy told reporters, “All the three corridors, will be finished by June 2018. Following the construction, a few more months will be required for completing 'contractual formalities'. This is a must, before the three corridors can be made completely operational."
Despite facing hurdles, eight kilometres between Nagole and Mettuguda and 12 kilometres between Miyapur and SR Nagar, have been ready for months, but are not being thrown open to the public, which has irked citizens.
After Kerala got its first metro in Kochi, many took to social media, to vent their ire on why the HMRL has not begun operations on the two stretches that are ready.
However, speaking to The Hindu this week, Reddy said, “We cannot be compared to other metros rails in the country because they are government-funded projects and can bear losses even if the trains run for short distances, unlike ours which is being built under the private, public partnership (PPP) mode. L&TMRH has invested a lot of money and metro rails worldwide do not make money and they have to calculate the operating costs from day one.”
He also told the newspaper that the present target was to complete construction work till Begumpet.
Meanwhile, it seems that the project is also facing some internal trouble, as reports suggest that HMRL and Larsen & Tubro (L&T) may be fighting over the payment of compensation due to change of alignment.
The Deccan Chronicle reported that L&T Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Shivanand Nimbargi lodged a complaint, and asked the state government to pay an additional amount of Rs 3,756 crore, as the cost of the project had increased to Rs 18,829 crore from Rs 15,073 crore, after realignment.
As of now, the deadline to make the project fully operational is December 2018.