The Kochi Metro is set to become India’s eighth inter-city metro rail project on Saturday. It is 13-km long and has been built at a cost of Rs 5,181-crore. It will span 25 kilometres across 22 stations. The metro is to be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will first ride the train from Palarivattom to Pathadippalam following which he will proceed towards the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium for the inauguration. 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 mentor of Kochi Metro project E Sreedharan, will accompany the PM to the inauguration ceremony. After the inauguration, the PM is expected to chair a meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other cabinet ministers later in the day, reported ANI. Also, follow live updates of the Kochi Metro inauguration here.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Kochi Metro rail project:
Completion in record time: The Kochi Metro is the longest first phase metro operation in the country. It took the shortest time — 45 months — to be commissioned into service. While Mumbai Metro took 75 months to finish its first 11-km run, Chennai Metro took 72 months for completion of its first phase of 4 km.
Eco-friendly: Keeping with the best environmental practices, the Kochi Metro is the first metro service in the country to use solar power to meet a quarter of its electricity requirement. One in every 23 stations will have solar panels, which will generate 2.3 megawatts (MW)and plans to build a 4 MW solar plant are being considered, which could meet as much as half of its electricity demands through solar power. Also, at every sixth of the 4,000-odd metro pillars, the government plans to build a vertical garden that will use recycled municipal waste. The metro is also expected to offer bicycles to its commuters for free at every station for passengers to ride around the city.
The Metro Corporation is also planting saplings on the medians of highways and some pillars between stations, as a part of its Green Kochi Scheme.
Women at the forefront, transgenders too: A majority of its workforce will comprise women. Kochi Metro will be the first state-owned company to give employment to a large number of transgenders. They will be hired for different operations ranging from ticketing to maintenance.
Themed stations: While one of the stations, CUSAT, has a water-theme, paintings of aquatic animals line the walls of Pathadippalam station. Muttam is themed on birds while Palarivattom station has floral interiors.
Ferry service: Apart from being a vital inter-city transport system, it will also provide boat rides with water transport envisaged as a feeder service to the rail corridor. The ‘Water Metro’ project will cost around 800 crores and aims to connect the metro to the 10 islands of Kochi, with the first phase of the water corridor expected to be operational by end-2018.
Disabled friendly coaches: The metro rail service not only have special provisions to provide wheelchairs, but it will also have reserved seats for people with disabilities. Seats for women with children, children and the elderly have specially coloured marked by the Metro administration.
Free wifi: In a first for any metro in the country, the Kochi Metro’s coaches and its stations will have free wi-fi.
Chenda in coaches: There are reports that doors of its coaches will either open or close to the music of Chenda, Kerala’s traditional percussion instrument.