The 11-year wait for a fully functional Metro rail has finally ended for residents of South Bengaluru. It took the state five Chief Ministers and an investment of Rs 13,865 crore for the Phase 1 of the project to become a reality. Just phase 1.
President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Green Line at 6.20 pm on Saturday. With this new line, Bengaluru is the second city in India to have full-fledged metro connectivity.
The President waved the green flag at Vidhana Soudha, and simultaneously, the train rolled out for the first time from Malleshwaramâ€™s Sampige Road metro station to South Bengaluru.
Commercial operations for this 12-km line will be open from 4 pm on Sunday and finally, Bengalureans can commute to different parts of the city by switching over at Kempegowda Metro Station.
With the new line up and running, the metro is expected to cater to about 5 lakh commuters daily, with the completion of the 42-km network, the Times of India reported.
The fares on Namma Metro will also be increased by 10% on the Purple Line between Mysore Road and Baiyappanahalli and the Green Line between Nagasandra and Mantri Square Sampige Road, which are presently operational.
While the fare for the first station has remained Rs 10, commuters will have to shell out Rs 15 instaed of Rs 13 for travelling to the second station and the journey to the third station will cost Re 1 more than the fare for the previous station.
Namma Metro rides (Rs 2.5/km) are more expensive when compared with Delhi (83 paise/km) and Kolkata (92 paise/km), but cheaper than Mumbai and Chennai metro (both Rs 3.50/km).
â€śI am happy to be associated with this historic occasion for Bengaluru and dedicating Phase 1 to the people of Karnataka and Bengaluru. I am also happy that the Kochi Metro was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same day. The first phase has already enriched our experience, thanks to engineers and workers of BMRCL. This learning will help in the execution of the 72-km Phase 2 of the project, which is under way. The credit also goes to the people of the Garden City who have shown discipline and hospitable behaviour,â€ť the President spoke while addressing the inaugural gathering.
â€śWe are behind in expanding railway projects unlike other countries. The population of India grew from 350 million to 1300 million since Independence and urban conglomeration gave birth to a new problem of urban mobility. We began late and started late but after the Delhi Metro, there has been no looking back. In another 10-15 years, a dozen cities will have Metro systems,â€ť he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief minister Siddaramaiah credited the BMRCL for undertaking the challenge of building the metro after â€śenduring critical circumstancesâ€ť.
â€śI also thank the citizens who have endured the construction. With completion of Phase 2, 72 kms of Metro network will be added to the city and 15 lakh commuters can use it every day. However, without an integrated last-mile connectivity and feeder system for the Metro, it will not achieve its objective of mass transit,â€ť the CM said.
Work on Phase 2 of the metro has already begun and this project is estimated to cost the Karnataka government Rs 26,405 crore, of which the Centre's contribution is Rs 5190 crore.
Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu told the media that the Centre has already released Rs 2160 crores of its allocation. â€śThe BMRCL team has done an incredible job already but I hope they have learnt from their challenges and mistakes and will put it to use in implementing the second phase of the project. They must stick to their deadline of March 2020,â€ť he added.