Namma Metro’s big train begins, BMRCL promises more

Namma Metro’s big train begins, BMRCL promises more

The first six-coach Namma Metro train at the Bayyappanahalli Metro Station in Bengaluru on Friday. (DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar)

Namma Metro’s first six-car train, touted to be a solution for crowded platforms and packed trains, began its operations on the Purple Line (Baiyappanahalli to Mysore Road) on Friday evening with officials promising to introduce more such trains in the coming days.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who flagged off the longer train at Baiyappanahalli Metro station, sought to stress his role in bringing Metro infrastructure to Bengaluru back in 2006.

“BMRCL has planned a 250-km Metro network for Bengaluru in four phases. We also need road infrastructure like a peripheral ring road considering the increase in the vehicle population in the city,” he said.

BMRCL managing director Mahendra Jain said the corporation had placed an order with BEML for 150 intermediate cars at a cost of Rs 1,463 crore, of which Rs 973 crore was a loan from AFD. “BEML has now promised to supply all the cars by August 2019, four months before the deadline. It took more than three months for introducing the first train as it has to go through several tests and get safety certificates and approvals from central bodies,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who also holds the portfolio of Bengaluru Development, expressed concern over the vehicle population in the city. “We need to put a check on it. The first step is to develop neighbouring cities as satellite towns,” he said.

Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said it was important to make projects like Metro financially viable.

“There is a demand that Metro should never hike fares. But people have to decide whether they want a sustainable world-class transport infrastructure or a capital-intensive system in a shambles. Our policies should have clarity since the concentration of population in urban areas will only increase in the coming years,” he said.