Kochi: Kerala's first metro line was flagged off in Kochi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. PM Modi, along with Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other dignitaries, travelled by the metro. Union minister M Venkiah Naidu was also present.
- PM Modi shared metro ride with E Sreedharan among other dignitaries
- The metro line will be open to public from Monday
- The first phase connects Palarivattom and Aluva
E Sreedharan, better known as India's "metro man", also accompanied PM Modi during the maiden ride. PM Modi travelled in the metro coach, which has green coloured seats from Palarivattom to Pathadippalam. Seated to his right was the Kerala Chief Minister and to his left was Governor Sathasivam.
"Kochi metro integrates the city's entire public transportation network into a single system," PM Modi, who began his speech in Malayalam, said at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during the formal inauguration. He said the coaches of the metro reflect the 'Make in India' vision. Chief Minister Vijayan presented a hand-carved wooden model of the Kochi Metro car to the Prime Minister.
The coaches reflect "Make in India" vision. They have been built by Alstom near Chennai, and have an Indian component of around 70%: PM— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 17, 2017
The Rs 5,180-crore project was completed in a record four-year period and the metro line will be thrown open to public from Monday. The foundation stone was laid in 2012 and the work -commissioned to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation - began the next year.
Mr Sreedharan, who spearheaded the Delhi metro project, is an advisor in the Kochi metro project. Days ahead of the inauguration, a list of arrangements made public, revealed that Mr Sreedharan was not among the dignitaries to be seated on the stage with PM Modi. The "Metro Man" being left out of the stage triggered a controversy and became the talking point on social media. His name was later included in the list after Kerala Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister's Office.
With 11 stations, the first phase is a little over 13.2 km and connects Palarivattom to Aluva. The metro will significantly reduce the travel time between the two areas to 23 minutes.
Each station will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, western ghats as well as the local history of the city, among others.
23 transgender workers have been employed at the metro stations in the city. Migrant workers, who were involved in the construction, were treated to a sumptuous lunch on Friday during a farewell party, ahead of the inauguration.