At 4 pm, take the first Metro ride

Last Updated : 19 October 2011, 20:29 IST

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All the six stations between Baiyappanahalli and MG Road have been decorated and policemen are on round-the-clock patrol to prevent any untoward incident before the City’s tryst with its transport destiny, which will see  Bangaloreans be able to cover an the initial distance of 6.7 km in 14 minutes, when Union Minister for Urban Transport Kamal Nath flags off the first train in the morning.

The entire Metro network will take several more years for completion. But there is a justifiable sense of achievement among officers of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) who coped with many a problem to make Reach 1 a reality.

Bangalore would have got a Metro rail, a suburban rail and a circular rail system at a cost of just Rs 650 crore, if a proposal drafted in 1982 had become a reality, instead of having to cough up 20 times that sum, for the Metro.

Traffic police and experts argue that opening of the initial 6.7-km stretch would have marginal impact on traffic congestion across Bangalore as the line has no connectivity to the heart of the city.

But, right now, the buzz around the opening the Metro outweighs its lightweight impact. Ashwini, a final year BA student, said: “It takes me at least 30 minutes to get to my college on Langford Road by bus but now I can take the Metro until MG Road, use the feeder bus until Richmond Circle and walk for two minutes to my college. And even all these exercises put together it would only take me about 12-13 minutes.” Narendra J M, a senior management supervisor with a private company, said: “The wait is over and I am very excited that I would be using the Metro from Thursday.”

Advisor to Government of Karnataka for Traffic, Transport and Infrastructure M N Sreehari said: “Measuring the performance of the project can only be done only after the entire phase is complete.”

The proposal  for a comprehensive mass rapid transit transport system (MRTS) lay in cold storage since 1982 till it was approved in 2006.  Going back to the 1982 proposal, S N Venkata Rao, Advisor, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, (DMRCL), who was also associated with BMRCL, said: “The idea was first mooted when C K Jaffer Sharief was the Minister of State for Railways.”

But successive governments were cold to the project, forcing the proposal in the back burner.  It gained some momentum when S M Krishna became the chief minister. Finally, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation-stone for Namma Metro in its current form on June 24, 2006.

After a good five years, a section of the City’s citizens will get to use a section of the project.

A wide cross section of Bangalore’s population, including businessmen, corporate executives and students are not complaining as they gear up to meet their time schedules while tarversing the short distance between Baiyapanahalli and M G Road.

Published 19 October 2011, 20:29 IST

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