The stage is now set for the official launch of the Kochi metro, which will be facilitated in the august presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 11 a.m. here today. Hailed as India’s first integrated multi-mode transport system, the inaugural ceremony of Kerala’s first Metro service will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium. Prime Minister Modi, who will ride the rail from Palarivattom to Pathadippalam, will head to the stadium for the inauguration, accompanied by a host of dignitaries including Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, Ernakulam MP K V Thomas, and ‘Metro man’ E Sreedharan. Following this, he will attend a Patanjali yoga camp and release a book commemorating ‘Reading Day’ at 12:15 pm. The Prime Minister will also chair a meeting with Chief Minister Vijayan and other cabinet ministers at 1 pm to discuss developmental activities implemented in the state. The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), since its inception has focused on providing world-class amenities to the people of Kochi, apart from easing road traffic by providing end-to-end connectivity. The 13-km long stretch spans across Aluva and Palarivattom. KMRL in it approach towards a gender-balanced workforce has deployed several women to act as frontrunners in the operation, by collaborating with Kudumbashree, the women empowerment-oriented self-help group initiated by the State government. The KMRL has also appointed as many as 23 transgenders for customer service operations and as ground staff.
Apart from a fleet of low-floor buses and autos plying as metro feeders, the KMRL has also roped in Kochi Water Metro, a water transport unit functioning as feeders for those living by the banks of the backwaters. The rooftops of all stations have been set up with solar panels in order to generate power. Apart from a special provision for wheelchairs, coaches have earmarked specially for people with disabilities.
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For such people and pregnant women, the Kochi metro comes fitted with cushioned seats. Also, there are multiple USB ports for commuters to charge their mobile phones on the go. The minimum fare to ride in the Kochi Metro is capped at Rs 10, while an end-to-end ride, from Aluva and Palarivattom or vice-versa costs Rs. 40.