Urban India: PM Modi launches Kerala’s first metro line in Kochi!

Image credit: Modern Diplomacy

Dr. Abdul Ruff

India, like most countries in the world, gives importance to urban development. Since independence, India’s villages have remained without much development as the state and federal governments focus on urban enrichment. This has been a disturbing trend in India in spite of the fact the many leaders belong to villages and with a rural background.
After the successful launch of metros lines in Delhi state, making travel fast and life of the commuters easy and less troublesome, many cities in the country have also embarked upon the metro station.

Kochi is one of the latest.

Kerala state in South India, now being ruled by Left parties, has to its credit a new and first ever metro station in the state’s business capital Kochi.

Kerala’s first metro line was flagged off in Kochi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. PM Modi, along with Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other dignitaries, traveled by metro. Union minister M Venkiah Naidu was also present.
The construction was completed in a record four-year period, and the metro line has been thrown open to the public from Monday the 19th June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with other dignitaries traveled between the stations of Palarivattom to Pathadippalam of the Kochi Metro rail line and he traveled in the metro coach, which has green colored seats. Seated to his right was the Kerala Chief Minister and to his life was Governor Sathasivam.

Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy, who did not attend Saturday’s Kochi Metro inauguration after being kept out of the main list of invitees, will take his first ride on the Metro on Tuesday.

Important features: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first phase – 13.2 km of the total 25 km stretch – of the Kochi metro today. The Prime Minister, along with other dignitaries, undertook a ride from the stations of Palarivattom to Pathadippalam in the city. With 11 stations covering nearly 13 km – from Palarivattom to Aluva – this is the longest first phase of a metro to be inaugurated. By road, it takes around 45 minutes to travel from Aluva to Palarivattom. The Metro will limit the travel time to 23 minutes. The Kochi Metro is the first in India to use Communication Based Train Control technology to maximize frequencies and minimize errors. Each station will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, Western Ghats as well as the local history of the city, among others. Each station on the Kochi Metro will have solar panels, which will focus on producing 35 per cent of the total power usage. The Kochi Metro Rail Corporation has also decided to employ transgender people in stations. The construction of the Kochi Metro began in 2013 and was tasked to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The DMRC was once headed by E Sreedharan, who also acted as an advisor on the new project. According to the Kochi Metro website, the project cost an estimated Rs. 5,180 crore. The fare will vary from a minimum of Rs. 15 to a maximum of Rs. 30.
E Sreedharan, better known as India’s “metro man,” also accompanied PM Modi during the maiden ride. PM Modi traveled in the metro coach, which has green colored seats from Palarivattom to Pathadippalam. Seated to his right was the Kerala Chief Minister and to his left was Governor Sathasivam.

Kochi Metro integrates the city’s entire public transportation network into a single system,” PM Modi, who began his speech in Malayalam, said at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during the formal inauguration. He said the coaches of the Metro reflect the ‘Make in India’ vision. Chief Minister Vijayan presented a hand-carved wooden model of the Kochi Metro car to the Prime Minister.

The Rs. 5,180-crore project was completed in a record four-year period, and the metro line will be thrown open to the public from Monday. The foundation stone was laid in 2012 and the work -commissioned by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation – began the next year.

Sreedharan, who spearheaded the Delhi Metro project, is an advisor for the Kochi metro project. Days ahead of the inauguration, a list of arrangements made public, revealed that Sreedharan was not among the dignitaries to be seated on the stage with PM Modi. The “Metro Man” being left out of the stage triggered a controversy and became the talking point on social media. His name was later included in the list after Kerala Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office.

With 11 stations, the first phase is a little over 13.2 km and connects Palarivattom to Aluva. The metro will significantly reduce the travel time between the two areas to 23 minutes.
Each station will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, western Ghats as well as the local history of the city, among others.
23 transgender workers have been employed at the metro stations in the city. Migrant workers, who were involved in the construction, were treated to a sumptuous lunch on Friday during a farewell party, ahead of the inauguration.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced a terror threat during his recent visit to Kerala for the inauguration of the Kochi Metro Rail project, Kerala police chief T P Senkumar indicated.
“There was a significant threat perception here on the day of the prime minister’s visit (on Saturday). There was a terror module here during his visit. We cannot disclose much of its details,” Mr. Senkumar told reporters in Kochi. Asked about the ‘terror threat,’ Senkumar said he could not elaborate further.

The Kerala director general of police said this while justifying police action on Friday near the Kerala High Court against people who were protesting against an LPG terminal coming up at Puthuvype near Kochi. He defended Kochi’s City Deputy Commissioner of Police Yatish Chandra who reportedly used force to remove protesters in the high court area on that day. “They (the protesters), all of a sudden, tried to create trouble on the route the prime minister’s motorcade was to take (on June 17),” the DGP said, adding it happened when the Special Protection Group (SPG) and other security agencies were conducting a trial run through the route.

PM Modi had visited Kochi amid tight security on Saturday to dedicate the first phase of the Kochi Metro to the nation and also had taken a brief ride on the metro train along with dignitaries including Governor P Sathasivam, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The police chief said the protest was staged without prior notice and justified the police action. Senkumar dismissed the allegations against Yatish Chandra that he had ordered lathi charge against the protesters at Puthuvype on Sunday. “Can you show me the visuals of his action,” he asked reporters. He reiterated the police charge that extremist forces were behind the anti-LNG terminal protest. “Yes, extremist forces are behind the protest,” he said justifying the lathi charge. His statement comes amid demand from the opposition parties and protesters for stringent action against the police for the lathi charge. At least 20 people were injured in the lathi charge.

Meanwhile, the ‘LPG Terminal Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samiti,’ said they would attend a meeting convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tomorrow to discuss the issue. Earlier, they had said they would not attend the meeting scheduled in Thiruvananthapuram

Abdul Ruff

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