Kochi: As announced on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kerala’s first metro on Saturday, following which he travelled on a Kochi metro train on Saturday with other officials present for the event.
India’s ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the state’s Governor P Sathasivam were present during the inauguration of the metro.
After cutting the ribbon at the Palarivattom station, PM Modi shook hands with the chief minister and Sreedharan before proceeding to board the metro train. During the journey, Modi waved at the crowd as Sreedharan and Kochi Metro Rail Ltd Managing Director Elias George interacted with him.
Union Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gouba, Kerala Chief Secretary Nalini Netto and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan also travelled with the prime minister.
After the train ride, the dignitaries left the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at nearby Kaloor for the formal inaugural function. Considered the fastest completed metro project in the country, Kochi Metro, the flagship transportation infrastructure project of Kerala, will start its regular operations from June 19.
PM Modi flagged off the first phase of the Kochi Metro, the total distance of which includes in this phase is 13.2 km out of the 25 km stretch at around 10.30 am. The whole inauguration clan, including PM Modi, is expected to ride from the stations of Palarivattom to Pathadippalam in the city, state various reports.
The first phase of the project, covering nearly 13 km, will be the longest first phase of a metro project to be inaugurated and will include 11 stations.
While the distance of road travel from Aluva to Palarivattom – the two end points of the first phase metro project – is 45 minutes, the journey via metro will reduce it to a mere 23 minutes.
The Kochi Metro will also be the first rail project in India to use Communication-Based Train Control technology to maximise frequencies, thus curtailing errors.
Not only is the technology behind the project commendable, but the visual representation of stations has also been taken into consideration, as each one will showcase a theme, etched with the city.
Energy-saving has also been kept in mind while planning the project, as each station will have solar panels, which will be used to churn out 35 per cent of the total power usage.
Humanitarian clauses are another reason which differentiates the Kochi Metro from existing ones. The Kochi Metro Rail Corporation has decided to employ transgender people as employs in the stations.
The project began, a year before PM Modi and the BJP came to power in 2013 and was tasked with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The DMRC, which was once headed by Sreedharan, was also responsible for supervising the Kochi Metro project.
The total cost of the project, according to the Kochi Metro website, is Rs 5,180 crores. The fares of the Metro will vary from a minimum of Rs 15 to a maximum of Rs 30.
While there has been tension between Kerala and the Centre of several issues, this is one project that holds importance, as it will help bridge the differences between the state and Centre.