Kochi, June 17 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the first phase of the Kochi Metro to the nation, took a brief ride and hailed its “several significant features”, especially the employment of transgenders and women.
“… Futuristic infrastructure that will contribute to India’s growth,” Modi tweeted shortly after the ride with dignitaries, including governor P. Sathasivam, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu and “Metro Man” E. Sreedharan.
Sreedharan, whose name was included on the guest list by the PMO following the state government’s insistence, received loud cheers from the audience. Kochi Metro Rail managing director Elias George, who welcomed the gathering, had to pause as over 3,000 people rose and greeted the project’s chief architect with thunderous applause.
Addressing the gathering, Modi described as “noteworthy” the selection of nearly 1,000 women and 23 transgenders to work in the Kochi Metro Rail System.
The Kochi Metro Rail Limited is a 50:50 joint venture of the state government and the Centre, which has so far released over Rs 2,000 crore for the project estimated to cost Rs 5,181.79 crore.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation for the project on September 13, 2012, and the construction began in June 2013 when the Congress-led UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy was in power in Kerala, now ruled by the Left. Chandy was absent today.
The Prime Minister cut the ribbon and shook hands with Vijayan and Sreedharan before boarding the train.