Express News Service
26 Mar 2011
HYDERABAD: Expressing deep concerns over the impact of the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) project, a group of eminent social activists and representatives of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) on Friday appealed to the Central government to intervene and halt the project immediately. They demanded a thorough review of the project feasibility in economic terms, including alternative options available to improve public transport in the city.
In a representation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh, the social activists demanded that the HMR project should be subjected to rigorous scrutiny on environmental and economic aspects. Pointing out that the civil society of Hyderabad was severely opposed to the project, they stated it is one of the most controversial mega projects in publicprivate partnership (PPP).
Social activists including Medha Patkar, Magasaysay awardees Aruna Roy, Rajendra Singh, Arvind Kejriwal and Sandeep Pandey, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) former director PM Bhargava and Sekhar Singh of National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information (NCPRI) along with members of INTACH (Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage) and NAPM, want the government to bring the metro rail projects in all cities under the Ministry of Environment and Forests for mandatory environmental clearance. They alleged that authorities are finding an alibi for not conducting serious studies or public consultations.
In their representation, they raised doubts on quality of studies conducted for the project and felt the HMR’s main objective seems to be to grab prime lands worth thousands of crores of rupees. They highlighted the concerns of civic society over the negative impact of the project on city’s historic areas and heritage sites. They also pointed out the authorities had changed the project alignment such that it passes through the Musi river, which is in the National River Conservation Programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.