"Women are going to be a major driving force behind the world’s largest public private partnership project."
Ten years after it was first formulated, India has today launched the Hyderabad Metro, a network the country has said will become the world’s largest public-private-partnership (PPP) rail project in the world when fully complete. A PPP is a cooperative agreement between two or more public and private sectors, most often taking place over a long period of time.
The 180bn RS (£2.1bn) project, which was officially launched by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Damodardas Modi, will take over that mantle from Thailand’s 32-km long Bangkok Metro when the former doubles in size to 72 km in 2019, says Hyderabad’s operator.
Initially formed of three coaches each carrying 330 passengers – but which will be increased to six if needed – the intention for the line is to link up with privately-operated services that will link up the rest of the city, presumably to ease the burden on the state’s finances.
Writing on his Twitter page after the launch, Prime Minister Modi said: “Launched the Hyderabad Metro, a significant infrastructure project that will benefit the citizens of Hyderabad.” It is also hoped that the building of the line will also help reduce the city’s daily fight against smog where air quality can often exceed healthy levels.
In further good news for the city, a minister of Telangana, Hyderabad’s state, said that the new line would create a better deal for women working on India’s railways. “Women are going to be a major driving force behind the world’s largest public private partnership project. 35 women loco pilots will be steering Hyderabad Metro trains,” said Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao.
The recruitment policy on Hyderabad’s metro comes four months after Matunga station in Mumbai completely overhauled its workforce so it was entirely staffed by women – a first for national operator, Indian Railways. "In my career spanning 25 years with the railways I never thought of working with all women staff," remarked Ms Kulkarni, India’s first woman station master, as reported on NDTV.com.
As with many of the world’s transport systems, passengers will be able to navigate their way around Hyderabad’s Metro with a smartcard, with prices on India’s metro fixed at between 10 and 60 RS (12 and 70p). The smartcard’s use will be widened across other modes of transport as and when they’re built, but before they are passengers will be connected with other transport modes with 50 feeder buses operated from select stations along the 24-station route.
These SmartRail World stories on India's rail industry may also interest you…