The MMTS service in Hyderabad pinned its hopes on the Indian Railway Budget of 2013, awaiting funds and attention. What it got was a meagre allocation and an indirect, silent burial to its second phase. Of the expected Rs.750 crore, the MMTS’ allocation was a mere Rs.30 crore. Authorities at the SCR are wondering if the train service was overlooked or is being treated as a joke. The MMTS’ phase 2 service was expected to cost about Rs.632 crore of which the State government was expected to share two thirds of the cost, after a survey done last December. Following the success and demand for more trains in Phase 1, the second phase was mooted. The State government agreed to share the cost in two stages. Rs.20 crore were earmarked for passenger services and amenities, Rs.85 crore for new rakes. According to last year’s Railway Budget, the Central government announced Rs.99 crore as the MMTS’ share. Doubling and electrification works were planned along the Secunderabad-Malkajgiri-Bolarum, Falaknuma- Shamshabad, Lingampally- Shankarpally, and Secunderabad-Ghatkesar stretches.
Added to the MMTS’ woes is the brand new Metro Rail project coming up in the City. Despite the success of the MMTS and the demand for increased connectivity and frequency, the Metro Rail has gained more prominence of the train service. Professor C Ramachandriah, Centre for Social and Economic Studies says, “Ever since the Metro project took centre stage, they have killed the MMTS silently. The MMTS caters its reach to sections and parts of the City that the Metro cannot touch. Despite us registering our protests with the State government, we’ve received a petty amount in the budget. Even this will never be released.” Southern Central Railways officials too murmur that the project will never get completed if every year’s railway budget keeps putting the MMTS behind. “Rs.30 crore is not sufficient for maintaining all the stations we have in the City. When and how the MMTS second phase will actually begin is a mystery right now,” says a PRO at Rail Bhavan. Despite memorandums being submitted to minister Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy after last year’s budget, the second phase of the project is yet to be moved out its current inert state. The MMTS travellers group, Suburban Train and Bus travellers association had requested the minister to expedite the works.