The centrally located ITO Metro Station in Delhi was thrown open to commuters today, ending months of anticipation and delay. Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal and Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu launched the formal extension of services of the Badarpur-Mandi House section till ITO.
The station, which is tipped to be one of the busiest in the entire Delhi Metro network, is expected to take traffic load off the busy ITO intersection.
Arvind Kejriwal used the occasion to make a political point when he said, “Delhi Metro is the symbol of Centre-State cooperation and this is how the two should work in every field.”
The single-line extension is a first in the history of Delhi Metro, which was also behind the delay, as it was not permitted as per Metro Railway General Rules. Construction work was completed by January itself.
Later, the Urban Development Ministry amended and notified changes to the Metro Railway General Rules, 2013, to allow operations on single-line sections, paving the way for CMRS inspection and its eventual launch.
Train services on this 971-metre section is estimated to benefit 22,000 passengers daily to begin with and is expected to rise to 31,000 by 2021, enhancing DMRC’s annual revenue by Rs 8 crore.
The station on the Violet Line is also expected to take load off the busy ITO intersection, which according to an estimate is used by over 1.75 lakh vehicles everyday.
The eponymous station, which was decked up on the occasion, would also showcase the multi-layered history of the ITO area stretching from the Supreme Court to the ruins of Firoz Shah Kotla, with a permanent exhibition.
The ITO area houses prominent establishments like the Delhi Police headquarters, Delhi Secretariat, Income Tax Office, PWD headquarters and the intersection in its vicinity is a nightmare for regular commuters owing to heavy traffic.
ITO is the last station to be launched individually before the entire Mandi House-Kashmere Gate, 9.37 km ‘heritage corridor’, is commissioned by the end of 2016. Other stations in the corridor include Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid, Red Fort and Kashmere Gate.
Now, passengers from ITO would be able to access the Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre/Vaishali) by taking a ride to Mandi House or Yellow Line (Huda City Centre to Jahangirpuri) from the Central Secretariat station, thus bringing the area closer to residents of South and East Delhi.
The event was also attended by Union Minister Harshvardhan, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai, New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi and DMRC Chief Mangu Singh.