Will the metro rail ever run through Hyderabad’s old city? Not anytime soon, according to the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) who have been demanding that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government release Rs 1,000 crore funds for the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project as promised in the Telangana budget this financial year. While the eastern parts of the old city have access to the metro via the Malakpet station. The western region of the area is completely cut off. And residents await the promised metro stretch of six kilometres from Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) metro station to Faluknuma as part of the second phase, which was promised by the Telangana government before the 2018 elections.
The Hyderabad Metro Rail, which was inaugurated in 2017, in its first phase covers a distance of 69.2 kilometres across three corridors, from Miyapur to LB Nagar, from Jubilee Bus Station (JBS) to MGBS and from Nagole to Raidurgam. It runs along the middle of the Old Mumbai Highway, dividing city blocks and communities. In cities like Bengaluru and Chennai, parts of the metro run underground and blend into the city. In Hyderabad however, the metro rail stands out. It’s a fully elevated, grey concrete structure that stands apart from the city landscape.
However, some transport researchers argue that it provides little last-mile connectivity and doesn’t connect the parts of the city with larger population density. And the people with perhaps the least access to the metro are from the predominantly Muslim, old city of Hyderabad.
Syed Amin Ul Hasan Jafri, a Member of Legislative Council from AIMIM says the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project at the time of its planning did not carry out any public consultation with locals of the old city. “The east side of the old city has access to the Hyderabad Metro at Malakpet metro station and also to the Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS), but those who are on the west have to commute and spend more to reach the metro or the MMTS,” says Jafri.
On the western part of old city, you have Hussain Alam, Patter Darwaza, Purana Pul, there is Mangalghat, Dhoolpet and Begum Bazaar, says Jafri ”These are slums with high population densities but none of these areas is covered by the metro or the MMTS,” he adds.
The Telangana government before the state election in 2018 had made announcements over Phase 2 of the Hyderabad Metro extending the lines from Raidurgam to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Shamshabad. The plan also included extending the metro line from LB Nagar and from Faluknuma to Shamshabad. However, these plans are yet to come to fruition.