Metro on tracks, but needs VIP to wave green flag

Metro on tracks, but needs VIP to wave green flag
It’s been almost three weeks since the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) received a go-ahead from the Commissioner for Railway Safety (CRS) to commence operations on the Metro’s east-west corridor.

However, commuters will have to wait for another two weeks before they can enjoy a seamless ride. Reason: the new stretch on the Purple Line awaits inauguration by a VIP.

Earlier, a few dates were fixed to inaugurate the Cubbon Park - Majestic underground metro stretch. But the BMRCL could not fix the inaugural date without confirmation about the VIPs’ schedule from the state government and Union ministries. Meanwhile, the corporation had made all arrangements, including the plan to distribute ladoos (sweets), on the launch date.

Expected to be inaugurated by Union Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu in the presence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries, the stretch may see the start of services in the first week of May. However, BMRCL officials have not confirmed the exact date of inauguration.

BMRCL managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola told Deccan Herald the final dates would be confirmed only on Sunday (today) but pointed out that the east-west corridor would be opened to the public in about two weeks. Vasanth Rao, spokesperson BMRCL said they “are waiting for the dates of Union Ministers”.  BMRCL is also hoping to complete “small pending works’’ in this period.

Rs 40 for a 33-minute ride

Consisting of five underground stations, the stretch from Baiyappanahalli to Mysuru Road, through the central business district (CBD), will take 33 minutes to cover with a fare of Rs 40. The cost would be less for those who have a smart card. The are 17 stations on the 18.1-km stretch, which would take more than an hour by road in heavy traffic.

BMRCL officials said the Metro travels at an average speed of 38 kmph and takes about 1.5 minutes to travel from one station to the next, constructed at a maximum gap of 1.2 km. Of the 17 stations, the five underground stations are Cubbon Park (Minsk Square), Vidhana Soudha, Sir M Visvesvaraya (Central College), Kempegowda Intersection (at Majestic) and City Railway Station.

With the existence of government offices, court complexes, colleges and corporate offices, BMRCL is expecting at least five lakh passengers by the end of this year.

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