Hyderabad now has a greenfield airport. It is a box of glass and metal that sits at the outermost reaches of the city it serves. While there are many reasons to go build the airport outside a city, it does raise the question of how people from the other end of the city will get to the airport. For Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi Internation Airport (RGIA) the solution to this problem was proposed as two roads – the P. V. Narasimha Rao Expressway and the Outer Ring Road. Many crores (1 crore is 10,000,000) later these roads are partially built and do not in anyway make it easier for someone in Secunderabad to get to RGIA.
As we hurtle past million after million in number of humans on the planet and consume more and more oil to transport them, one must ask why the goverment chose to build roads to the airport rather than lay railroads.
2 railway lines, one from Secunderabad and one from old Hyderabad to RGIA would have meant that for most people the commute time to the airport would be a known figure. They would also serve as a means of daily commute for the people on those routes.
While the rest of the world turns towards mass public transportation, India is increasingly becoming the car capital of the world. The short-term vision of our leaders ensures that we are not making investments for the future. Caught between an increasingly irrelevent Left and a growing middle class, the goverment is making the wrong calls. The cost of these decisions may not stop with the cost to build these useless lengths of concrete.