VIJAYAWADA:ll the proposed metro rail in Vijayawada serve the purpose of better transport connectivity in the city? People in the city seem to have reservations over it. “Where is the need for metro rail in the city which has hardly 10 lakh population and a radius of less than 10 km? Further, the plans that have been drawn today, as being reported, do not connect the places where it is needed,” V Raghavendra, a 40-year-old resident of Autonagar, points out.
He has a point as the proposed metro rail in the city will be having two corridors, one stretching along Bandar Road from Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS) to Penamaluru and the other stretching along Eluru Road from PNBS to Nidamanuru, covering a total distance of 26.03 km. With proposals to extend it to Amaravati, the state capital in a subsequent phase.
But what about One Town, the densely populated area in the city, where commercial locations like KR Market and Vastralatha are present? Most importantly, the area has the temple of Goddess Kanaka Durga, the foremost landmark of Vijayawada.
“People who generally use public transport live in areas like Ajit Singh Nagar, Rajiv Kandrika, Auto Nagar and such areas which do not feature in the Metro Rail Project plans. The routes on which the metro rail corridors have been proposed have road connectivity and those using own vehicles would continue to use them, regardless of whatever public transport system is introduced,” pointed out MV Anjaneyulu, general secretary of taxpayers association.
He says one cannot expect a person working in Kandrika and Ajit Singh Nagar to come all the way to PNBS to catch metro to Auto Nagar. “What is being now proposed looks aimed at easing traffic problems; if it be the case, flyovers at Benz Circle and Indrakeeladri Hill along with Inner and Outer Ring Road will do,” he says.
A senior doctor practising in Bodemma Hotel Centre area of One Town in the city, not wishing to be named, suggests that the policy makers go for projects, which are viable and productive for the immediate requirements rather than going for grandiose plans in a bid to outdo other cities.
The project is estimated to cost `6,823 crore and the figure might go up several times, if the plans for metro connecting the capital city are taken into consideration. Even the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) people who gave DPR for Vijayawada metro have their reservations over its expansion to the capital region and instead suggest Rapid Rail Transport System or Multi Modal Transport system.
According to C Swamy Charan, former divisional secretary of SCR Vijayawada Division Railway Mazdoor Union, the existing railway network can be used to address the transport needs of Vijayawada as well as connecting it to the new capital. “There is a pending proposal for circular train connecting Vijayawada-Mangalagiri-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri. If the existing track is doubled, more trips of circular train can be used,” he said.
According to him, similar circular route can be developed in Vijayawada, if the government takes the initiative to connect the Vijayawada railway station to the existing Vijayawada-Gudur-Machilipatnam line covering Yanamalakuduru and Auto Nagar areas.
Since the government is already planning for having a flood bank at Ramalingeswara Nagar, the same can be incorporated for railway track saving the land acquisition problem.
“Operation of small trains between Vijayawada and Guntur as well as Vijayawada and Rajahmundry can be very useful,” he opined.