Namma Metro's Phase 1 has been delayed by more than six years due to various reasons, mainly lack of coordination between different agencies and political reasons. DH Photo
The first phase of Bangalore Metro today marked its completion with President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurating the 11.3 km stretch 'Metro Green Line' here.
The Metro line from Mantri Square Sampige Road Station to Yelachenahalli commissioned today has four km underground and 7.3 km elevated, and consists of 10 metro stations and will provide connectivity between North and South Bengaluru.
With the commissioning of 11.3 km stretch, Bangalore Metro Rail Project, also known as 'Namma Metro', has a track length of 42.3 km with 40 stations in two corridors, namely East-West and North-South Corridor for Phase-I.
The East-West corridor has 18.1 km and 17 stations, while the North-South corridor has 24.2 Km and 24 stations. City's Majestic or Nada Prabhu Kempegowda Station, which is the interchange, is said to be Asia's biggest station of its kind.
The total cost of the first phase of Bangalore Metro Rail Project is Rs 13,845.01 crore and is expected to meet the ridership of five lakh passenger per day in the days to come. Speaking at the inauguration, President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated the Centre for implementing Metro projects in the country with the help of state governments to meet the demands of the growing population.
Noting that the first metro project in India was in Calcutta in 1984, followed by Delhi Metro which was highly successful, he said "in the next 10-15 years more than a dozen Indian cities will have their metro projects..."
However, he acknowledged India was late to introduce metro "by several decades", primarily because of doubts about cost-benefit ratio, nonetheless, there was "no looking back" after the project first rolled out in Kolkata in 1984.
The president thanked workers and engineers who toiled to ensure the project "sees the light of the day". Praising the city, he said Bengaluru was earlier known as "Garden City Of India", and is now famous as "Silicon Valley of India".
The President also urged the citizens of Bengaluru to maintain the high traditions of hospitality, cooperation, decency and all the qualities of a metropolitan personality. The event was attended by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda, among others.
Naidu lauded the cooperation between the Union and the state governments, hailing it as a "Team India" spirit. About the city's emergence as an information technology hub, he said, "IT is the beauty of Bengaluru".
Naidu said with the opening of this line, the total metro length operational in the country is 370 km in Delhi and NCR, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Jaipur and Mumbai. "Around 517 kilometres is under construction in various cities, including Delhi and NCR, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Lucknow and another around 522 kilometres is under consideration," he said.
Noting that Ministry of Urban Development has taken certain initiatives to enhance the public transport, Naidu said the new metro policy enable greater private participation and innovative financing through Value Capture Financing and to ensure conformity to comprehensive mobility plans.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said rapid economic growth has brought prosperity to the people of Karnataka, but at the same time it has strained civic infrastructure, particularly that of transport sector.
"Increasing congestion on roads, worsening air quality and related time and health issues were making the city economically inefficient", he said, suggesting that projects like 'Namma Metro' will have far reaching impact on infrastructural, economic and social aspects of a city.
"The problem of last mile connectivity has to be addressed through multiple actions such as good bus services, taxi services, user friendly pathways etc," the chief minister said. He said Phase 2 of the 'Namma Metro Project' is already under implementation and would add another 72 km to the existing 42 km of Phase-1.
"An amount of Rs 26,405 Crore would be invested on Phase-2. The network when completed will reduce traffic congestion and will be able to carry more than 15 lakh passengers per day," Siddaramaiah said.
There are also plans to further expansion of Namma Metro network to Kempe Gowda International Airport and a Metro corridor along the Outer Ring Road, the Chief Minister added. Started in 2008,the first phase of Metro was supported by Japan International Co-operation Agency and Agence Francaise De Developement France, along with state and central governments.
An amount of Rs 300 Crore was raised by floating bonds, a first in the metro history of the country. The public transport system, implemented jointly by the Union and the Karnataka governments, is aimed at providing efficient and environment-friendly transport option to the residents of Bengaluru, a city of estimated 10 million people.
The metro project was conceptualised as a viable solution at a time when the pressure on roadways communication is worryingly increasing. Also, Bengaluru has one of the worst air pollution indices among prominent cities in India. In May, the National Green Tribunal directed authorities to ensure 76 polluting industries around Bengaluru's Bellandur lake be shut.