What is KCR’s biggest worry these days? Not BJP, not even Congress Party. Not even the state’s economy. The biggest problem before him is how to enable the Metro rail services to run without any hitches. Yes. The prestigious Metro rail service is now running into huge losses and the L and T, which is running it, has literally sent an SoS to the State Government.
The fact that KCR spent close to three out of nine hours of the recent cabinet meeting on the Metro Rail tells us the importance of ensuring that the Metro rail runs. If the Metro rail stops functioning, it would be a huge loss of face for the State Government. It cannot go to the voters next year with a closed Metro Rail, which affects over a third of Telangana’s population.
The Metro Rail sources said that the Metro Rail is incurring a loss of Rs 3280 crore. There are three routes in which the Metro rail is operating. During the pre-Kovid period, the daily passenger traffic used to range between 3.80 lakh to 4.10 lakh. But, during the first phase, the passenger traffic was just around 80000 a day. In the second phase, the traffic is around 2 lakh. From December 2021, the commuters have risen to 2.60 lakh. Even this is nowhere near the pre-Covid figures. The L and T is paying Rs 1412 crore towards the repayment of the bank loans.
KCR is determined to ensure that the Metro rail runs. It would be a huge loss of face for the TRS government if it closes now. KCR also realises that the tight-fisted and financially strict Central Government will not bail out the State Government on this issue. Now KCR is said to be looking at the ways and means to run the Metro Rail without taxing the general public. Now it’s like being between the devil and the deep sea for KCR.