Chennai on Monday joined the league of New Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Bengaluru and Kolkata to have Metro train services. The initial phase of the Rs 14,600-crore much-awaited project was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa by flagging off the first train from Alandur in south Chennai to Koyambedu, the hub of the Metro service.
The first train, driven by a woman, is expected to reduce the commuting time by 75%, said sources here. The train will cover a distance of 10.15 km with six stations on the route in 20 minutes.
Conceived way back in 2008, the project was scheduled to open by December, 2013, but had got delayed due to various reasons. The 45-km project, with 32 stations, is being developed on two main routes — 23 km from Washermenpet to Chennai Airport and the second one covering 22 km between Chennai Central and St Thomas Mount. The project is being set up under an entity called Chennai Metro Rail Limited.
Nine trains have been deployed with each train having the capacity to carry 1,276 passengers – 176 of them sitting and 1,100 standing. The minimum fare will be Rs 10 and the maximum will be Rs 40.
The route dedicated to the public is an elevated structure covering a distance of 10.15 km, connecting Alandur, Ekkathuthangal, Ashok Nagar, Vadapalani, Arumbakkam and Koyambedu Railway stations besides the yard at the last stop, a state government press statement said.
Of the total project cost of Rs 14,600 crore, the central government’s contribution is 15% as share capital and 5% as loans, while that of the Tamil Nadu government is at 15% in terms of share capital and 5.78% as loans, the state government said, adding the state has released its entire share of funds. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the major investor in this project, has invested over Rs 8,000 crore with a 59.22% holding.