Will try to promote domestic manufacture of metro coaches, says Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the maiden run of the Kochi metro on Saturday, and took a short inaugural ride on one of the trains.
One of the fastest to be built in the country, the Kochi metro is the first public transport system to reserve jobs for members of the third sex and it will be manned mainly by women of the Kudumbasree Mission, the State government’s women empowerment initiative.
Mr. Modi travelled 4 km on the metro line in the Palarivattom-Pathadipalam corridor and back, accompanied by Governor P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation principal adviser E. Sreedharan, Kochi Metro Rail Limited Managing Director Elias George, among others. Of the 25-km metro envisaged in the Aluva-Pettah corridor, 13 km would be opened to commuters from Monday. The 13-km metro corridor begins from Aluva and ends in Palarivattom. Another 5 km will be ready by September.
Addressing an exuberant crowd who came to witness the inaugural function, Mr. Modi appreciated the fact that nearly 1,000 women (mainly from Kudumbasree) and 23 people from the transgender community had been recruited (by Kochi Metro Rail Limited). ‘‘The project is also an example of environment-friendly development. It will meet nearly 25% of the entire energy requirements from renewable sources, particularly solar energy,’’ he said.
‘Make in India’
Referring to the “Make in India” vision, Mr. Modi said that efforts were being made to promote domestic manufacture of metro rolling stock (coaches). He called for a paradigm shift in urban planning by adopting a people-centric approach, and by integrating land use and transport. The National Transit Oriented Development Policy seeks to transform cities from being transit-dependent to being transit-oriented. It aims to create compact walkable communities and boost public transport, he said.
Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said that policy initiatives such as Green Urban Transport and New Metro are at advanced stage of consideration, to promote climate-friendly commuting modes.
Concerted efforts were needed to six-lane National Highways passing through Kerala, double rail tracks and to decongest roads by promoting cargo movement through (Kollam-Kottapuram) National Waterway III, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also in charge of the Kochi metro, said.