L&T to exit Hyderabad Metro project, director blames 'free bus rides

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 5/15/2024 7:23:06 AM

Mumbai, May 14 L&T is planning to sell off the Hyderabad Metro project post 2026, the firm's director R Shankar Raman said, adding that the free bus scheme initiated by the Congress government made ridership "less interesting". L&T owns 90 per cent of the metro project while the Telangana government owns the remaining 10 per cent. The company has a 65-year concession to run the metro system. In an interview with Business Today TV, India Today's sister channel, Raman, also L&T's president and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said women were travelling more on buses even though the number of buses has not risen. He added that men "were moving to the railway wagons". "There is a gender distribution that is happening in the transportation system. Buses are being used by women who pay nothing and the metro is used by men who pay Rs 35 on an average per ticket," he said.The Mahalakshmi bus scheme offers women and transgenders to travel free on government-run non-AC buses in Telangana. "We currently have 4 lakh 80,000-odd people using it per day. We need to lighten the dead burden of this project because of the current ridership," Raman said.Henews agency that L&T successfully negotiated a Rs 3,000 crore soft loan with the Telangana government to be repaid over without interest. The company is also planning to monetise some of the real estate attached to the metro system. "My own assessment is that when we sit down for the FY26-FY31 plan, this could be an asset to be monetised in that period because it would then be of interest to investors, particularly the pension funds and global funds given the 65-year concession," he said. Responding to a question about how the state government's free bus rides impacted ridership, Raman said it made it less interesting.


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