President unveils Bengaluru Metro Rail's first phase

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President unveils Bengaluru Metro Rail's first phase
President unveils Bengaluru Metro Rail's first phase

Bengaluru : Bengaluru on Saturday became the second after Delhi to have a Metro network running across the city with President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday inaugurating the completed first phase.

The 42.3-km-long project, which started in 2008, has been built at a cost of about Rs 13,845 crore, of which Rs 300 crore was raised by floating bonds, a first in the Metro history of the country.

The service from Nagasandra station in the north to Yelachenahalli station in the south will be opened for public from Sunday evening.

Tthe inaugural event of the 'Namma Metro' (Our Metro) service was held at the state secretariat, 3 km away from the Kempe Gowda inter-change terminal at Majestic station for the 24 km north-south Green Line and 19 km east-west Purple Line.

"The rapid economic growth of Bengaluru has brought prosperity to the state, but increasing congestion on roads, worsening air quality and related time and health issues were making the city economically inefficient," said Mukherjee

He lamented India was late by several decades in adopting the Metro as a viable mode of public transport. 

Noting that the first Metro started in 1863 and by early 20th century, a large part of Europe and the Americas had Metro rail networks in their large cities but in India "hesitant primarily because of economic considerations and doubts about cost benefit ratios, we started first Metro network in Kolkata in 1984".

Noting that Phase-2 is already under implementation and would add another 72 km to the existing length, he said: "The network, when completed, will reduce traffic congestion and be able to carry more than 15 lakh passengers per day."

The President said that due to rising population organising transport facilities has emerged as a serious challenge.

"It not only demand investment of huge resources but also demands technical support," he said and added that in next 10 to 15 years more than a dozen of Indian cities will have metro projects.

Governor Vajubhai Vala demanded the Central government to bear 100 per cent burden of the metro projects in all the metropolitan cities.

Describing the metro project as an example of an engineering marvel, Union Urban Development Minister Naidu said that second phase of the metro project in the city should be completed within the time frame.

Chief Minister Siddharamiah noted that the "rapid economic growth of Bengaluru has brought about not only prosperity to the state, but also led to pressure on its overall infrastructure, especially public transport". 

"The every-increasing demand for a better quality transport in addition to the bus services across the city necessitated a metro rail system for the city.

"Credit should also go to the people of Bengaluru, who have cooperated and endured discomfort during the construction of the metro project, which has reduced the travel time on both the lines to less than half as compared to other modes of transport," he said.

The inaugurated stretch of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) has 8.8 km underground stretch on both the corridors while 33.5 km is over ground.

The service on the route will run 4 km underground from Sampige Road station to National College via the Majestic terminal and cover the Green Line in 45 minutes, with 30-second halt at each of the 24 stations enroute.

The service from Sampige Road station to Peenya station began in March 2014 and from Peenya to Nagasandra station in May 2015.

Though the Phase 1 project work began in April 2007, the original deadline was extended to 2017 from 2010 owing to inordinate delays and cost overruns.

The first metro service began in October 2011 between M.G. Road and Baiyappanahall, while the east-west corridor, which connects Baiyappanahalli station to Mysore Road station in the west in 35 minutes, has been operational since April 2016.