President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday inaugurated much awaited Namma Metro service in Bengaluru, more than 10 years after project commenced. The President inaugurated the 42-km long phase I of the service – to be thrown open on Sunday. President Mukherjee expressed happiness at launch. “I am sure in next 15 years more than a dozen Indian cities will have their metro projects ready,” Mukherjee said.”Urban transportation is posing a serious challenge to India’s development,” he said after inaugurating the service remotely from the Vidhan Soudha. The president further acknowledged India was late to introduce metro “by several decades”, primarily because of doubts about cost- benefit ratio, nontheless there was “no looking back” after the project first rolled out in Kolkata in 1984. “We started with the first metro network in Kolkata in 1984 and then we started in Delhi in the year 2000,” he said. President Mukherjee thanked workers and engineers who toiled to ensure the project “sees the light of the day”.
The much-awaited service, which missed several deadlines, saw a more than two-year delay in its inauguration due to slow progress in tunnelling work on the 8-km underground stretch. As per an Indian Express report, the project was originally scheduled to be launched in March 2015. The phase 1 of the metro rail project fulfils the dream of lakhs of Bengalureans.
As per India Express, the cost incurred for the Phase I had escalated from the initial projection of Rs 11,600 crore to Rs 14,200 crore. As per Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited, over five lakh people are expected to use the metro daily after the commercial operations begin. The newly launched service is expected bring great relief for daily commuters. The report adds that work on the second phase of the metro, comprising 61 stations and spread over 72.10 km, has already begun.