Southern States of Kerala and Karnataka hoped onto the ‘metro’ way of transportation on 17 June 2017 that so far had been the privilege of Kolkatta, Delhi, Mumbai and Haryana. There is certain advantage of catching up for the emerging economies in terms of availability of state-of-the-art technology and modern tested public transport option like urban and eco friendly metro rail. The best part of the said development is that both the said services got dedicated to people of India by the top two Indians today.
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee attended a function at Bengaluru for dedication of the Metro Phase –I project to the people of Karnataka and Bengaluru as Chief Guest today (June 17, 2017). Speaking on the occasion, the President said that originally known as the Garden City, Bengaluru has slowly transformed itself into the Silicon Valley of India. As per global rankings, it has been rated as the most dynamic city of the world ahead even of the Silicon Valley. He said that he was happy to dedicate the Metro Phase -I project to the people of the city and Karnataka State.
The President said that in warming up to and finally adopting Metro as a viable mode of public transport, we in India were late by several decades. The first metropolitan railway started in London in the year 1863. By early 20th century, almost entire Europe, North America and countries in South America had metro rail networks in all their large cities. India started with the First Metro Network in Kolkata in 1984 and then started in Delhi in the year 2000, there was no looking back for Metro in India.
The President said that the First Phase of ‘Namma Metro’ totaling 42.3 km in length started in the year 2008 and 31 km have been opened in different phases in the past. Today, the last section, measuring 11.3 km is being opened. The project has been built with major contributions coming from Government of Karnataka, Government of India, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Agence Francaise De Development (AfD)- France. Credit should go to the people of Bengaluru, who have cooperated to the fullest extent and endured discomfort during the construction of this world class infrastructure facility. He said that he was happy to note that Phase-2 of the Namma Metro Project is already under implementation and this would add another 72 km to the existing 42 km of Phase-1. He said that he had been informed that there is further plan to expand the Namma Metro network by proposing connectivity to the Bengaluru International Airport and a metro corridor along the Outer Ring Road.
The President complimented the team of the Bengaluru Metro Rail Project for their excellent work. He also congratulated the Ministry of Urban Development, the people of Karnataka and the State Government for their efforts and thanked the Government of Japan and the Government of France for their financial assistance for this project.
Likewise, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, today inaugurated the Kochi Metro, and travelled briefly on the new metro line. He later addressed a large gathering at the function to dedicate Kochi Metro to the nation. “Kochi, the queen of the Arabian Sea, is an important spice trading centre. Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala. Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala. Hence it is fitting that Kochi should have a Metro rail facility,” said Modi.
The city’s population has been rising steadily, and is expected to reach twenty three lakhs by 2021. Therefore, a mass rapid transport system is essential to address the increasing pressure on urban infrastructure. This will also contribute to Kochi’s economic growth. Kochi Metro Rail Limited is a fifty – fifty Joint Venture of Government of India and Government of Kerala. The Union Government has so far released over two thousand crore rupees for Kochi Metro. The phase being inaugurated will operate from Aluva to Palarivattom. It will cover 13.26 kilometres and eleven stations.
“This metro project has several significant features. It is the first metro project to be commissioned with a modern signalling system called the ‘Communication Based Train Control Signalling system.
The coaches reflect the “Make in India” vision. They have been built by Alstom of France, at their factory near Chennai, and have an Indian component of around seventy percent,” said Modi.
“I am informed that this Kochi-1 Card is a multi-purpose pre-paid contact-less RuPay card which can be used to travel in the metro and also like a normal debit card. Kochi will be one of the few cities in the world and the first in India to have a modern open-loop Smart Card, which can be used with other modes of transport like buses, taxies and autos as well. I am also informed that the Kochi-1 Mobile app has been developed with a long term vision. The mobile App has an Electronic-wallet integrated to it, which is linked to the Kochi-1 Card. Initially, it will enable citizens of Kochi to avail of metro services. In future, it will fulfil all their travel related requirements, regular payment needs and provide city and tourist information. Thus, it is a good example of an e-Governance digital platform. Another noteworthy aspect of this project is that nearly one thousand women and twenty-three transgenders are being selected to work in the Kochi Metro Rail System,’ he added.
The Kochi Metro project is also an example of environment friendly development. It plans to meet nearly twenty five percent of the entire energy requirements from renewable sources, particularly solar energy. The long-term plan is to become a zero-carbon emitting urban transit system. Every sixth pillar of the metro system will have a covered vertical garden, which will substantially use urban solid waste. All stations as well as the Operation Control Centre of Kochi Metro have achieved platinum rating which is the highest certification level given by the Indian Green Building Council.