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Don't meddle with Hyderabad Metro design: Government to Telangana

K Chandrasekhar Rao had announced in the assembly last month that L&T will not be allowed to proceed in the elevated format at key heritage structures.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 16, 2014, 11.51 AM IST
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Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao had announced in the assembly last month that L&T will not be allowed to proceed in the elevated format at key heritage structures. 
Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao had announced in the assembly last month that L&T will not be allowed to proceed in the elevated format at key heritage structures. 
HYDERABAD: The Centre has asked the Telangana government not to meddle with the design of the Hyderabad metro rail project, a move which is being seen as response to concerns aired by L&T which is implementing the project. TRS leader and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao had announced in the assembly last month that L&T will not be allowed to proceed in the elevated format at key heritage structures.

Rao, who had opposed the project's alignment at key locations, wants the infrastructure firm to explore alternatives including going underground.
L&T, which already suffered significant cost and time overruns in the over Rs 16,000-crore project, is of the view that going underground now will lead to further cost and time escalations and could make the entire undertaking unviable.

The centre's advice to India's newest state comes in the backdrop of appeals by businessmen with roots in residual Andhra Pradesh and its chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to intervene and protect their interests in and around Hyderabad. Hyderabad houses some of India's largest infrastructure firms that built nearly a third of the country's power, road, airport and irrigation projects.

Finance secretary Arvind Mayaram on July 2 wrote to the Telangana chief secretary seeking to know"an updated status (of the metro rail project) at the earliest". Pointing out that"some of the actions required to be taken are still held up," Mayaram said,"time-bound implet mentation to approved design is essential for ensuring cost-efficiency and boosting sentiment in the in frastructure sector."

The Union government has also summoned top Telangana bureau crats and officials from Hyderabad metro rail to New Delhi for a meeting on July 25. The main topic of discussion will be about removing hurdles to the metro rail project.

The Telangana government, which is entangled in disputes over water, power and law and order with the Centre and Andhra Pradesh, views the centre's latest move as yet another attempt at intruding into state government's turf.

TRS' deputy floor leader in the Lok Sabha, B Vinod Kumar, said the Centre is free to offer advice but it cannot direct the state government on issues like tweaking the alignment of metro rail projects."It is the prerogative of the state government to direct any changes to any projects awarded to the businesses to uphold the public interest," he told ET.

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