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Kochi, Bengaluru begin Metro ride

Work took 45 months in Kochi and 12 years in Bengaluru

Gireesh Babu & Raghu Krishnan  |  Chennai/ Bengaluru 

Kochi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu take a ride in the newly launched Kochi Metro in Kerala (Photo: PTI)

The first phase of Metro network for Kochi and a new line for Bengaluru was inaugurated on Saturday by Prime Minister in Kerala's commercial capital and President in India's tech hub, respectively.

However, the journey both cities took to build their respective transport system was starkly different. The 13.26 km network with 11 stations in the first phase took 45 months for Kochi, well within the projected timeline.  In contrast, Bengaluru took 12 years -- missing several deadlines. The 42.3-km long first phase took a long time to complete as a 8 km underground network in its rocky terrain had to be built. A 6.7 km phase was opened in instalments since 2014, giving its citizens a taste of the Metro system, which the city desperately needs to unclog the roads.

Bengaluru has 6.8 million vehicles for its population of around 12 million or around one vehicle for every two people, according to a March data of the Karnataka Transport department. The Metro expects to carry half a million passengers every day --  connecting the North to the South and the West to the East, helping people to connect with the main bus transport and railway stations.

The timely completion of the project has earned laurels for Kochi. The project employed transgenders and women, created adequate parking space for cycles and ensured connectivity to waterways.

"The city’s population has been rising steadily, and is expected to reach 2.3 million by 2021," said PM Modi inaugurating the Metro. " Therefore, a mass rapid transport system is essential to address the increasing pressure on urban infrastructure. This will also contribute to Kochi’s economic growth," he said.

The Bengaluru Metro, which has overshot its budget by nearly Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 14,200 crore due to the underground network, will cut short travel time for people by as much as one hour in some stretches.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMTC) Managing Director Pradeep Singh Khorala has initiated work for the second phase, which the  government hopes to complete by 2020.

The second phase would connect the outskirts -- the tech hub of electronics city and Whitefield, helping de-stress thousands of knowledge workers commuting on these routes.

"By then, we would have completed 72 kms," says Khorala, which would help us move over a million people every day.

Chugging on

Kochi Metro
 
— JV with Central Government
— Project cost: Rs 5,181.79 crore
— From Centre: Rs 2,000 crore
— First phase project time: 45 months
— First phase: 13.26 km and 11 stations, from Aluva to Palarivottam
— Coaches by: Alstom of France
— First metro to employ trangenders
— A quarter of power requirement in stations would come from solar 
— Has vertical garden
— Uses compost generated from municipal waste
— Second phase work begins this year, it will be 11.7 km with 12 stations

Bangalore Metro
 
—  Project initiated in 2005
—  Work began in 2007
—  Initial project cost: Rs 11,600 crore, Updated cost: Rs 14,200 crore
—  Coaches by: BEML
—  First phase: 42.3 km
—  8 km underground network
—  Lines opened partially from 2014
—  The first phase network opened on Saturday
—  A third of its locopilots are women
—  Second phase to cover 72.1 km has already begun, expected to be completed by 2020
—  State cabinet has approved a third phase with a combined 102 km

First Published: Sat, June 17 2017. 23:06 IST
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