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Saturday, 17 June 2017 23:45

Metro ride to south a sweep of lovely landscapes; Phase 1 now fully open

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Bengalru, Jun 17: As President Pranab Mukherjee waved a green flag on Saturday evening, a Metro train decked with flowers rumbled out from the Sampige Road station.

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President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated Namma Metro Phase I at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Saturday

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 11.3-km stretch of Namma Metro’s North-South on Saturday and stressed the need for better transportation to move people in the fast-growing country.

Congratulating the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) for overcoming all the challenges and completing the project, the president said, “As we complete the first phase of the project, one can be satisfied that as in other places, the Metro in Bengaluru has proved to be a long term and viable solution to urban public transport,” he said.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu explained the details of the costs involved. “The cost of the project is Rs 13,845.01 crore. The government of India has released Rs 7,110.60 crore for Phase 1 out of Rs 8,762.69 crore and balance will be released as and when BMRCL requests for it,” he said.

Noting that the exponential growth of Bengaluru had put a strain on the infrastructure in the city, the minister said the Centre had already approved Namma Metro Phase 2 to make sure that people’s demands for transportation are met. “The additional network measuring 72 km would be added to the existing network at a total investment of Rs 26,405 crore,” he said.

The train glided into the underground tunnel leading to the Kempegowda station, and sped past the Chickpet and K R Market stations. Passengers were now under the Bengaluru the great visionary Kempegowda had founded and built in 1537.

Turn towards Lalbagh

Within minutes, as the train emerged from the tunnel, passengers were treated to a view of the sprawling National College grounds.

Excited citizens in Basavangudi, one of Bengaluru’s oldest neighbourhoods, waved as they saw the train entering the National College station.

The track curved to the left near the college. As the train gained speed, the West Gate of Lalbagh came into view. That is one of the many Bengaluru landmarks the Metro now connects.

Passengers got a refreshing eye-level view of green treetops at the famous botanical garden. The train turned towards Jayanagar, one of the city’s best-planned neighbourhoods. The view got better here: trees line both sides of the track.

The train continued past familiar landmarks like the Banashankari temple, reaching the terminal at Yelachenahalli just as the sun set.

Proud employees

It was a proud moment for the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. Many employees and government officials were on the train. Citizens can ride it from 4 pm on Sunday.

“We have been waiting for this moment and I am happy to serve the public. From tomorrow, the ridership is going to increase to five lakh and we are ready with a renewed spirit,” said Sathyanarayana, security officer of the green line.

Another security supervisor said he had been working late-night shifts with the Metro staff to make sure the stations were ready in time. “I never imagined I would see the Metro in Bengaluru in my lifetime. But now I work for it and I am thrilled,” he said.

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