Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the first phase of Kochi Metro at the Jawaharlal stadium in Kaloor, Kochi. Addressing the crowd at the inauguration ceremony, the prime minister dedicated the rail transport system to the entire nation. He stressed the need to bring about a paradigm shift in urban planning by adopting a people-centric approach and integrating land use and transport. “Over the last three years, my government has placed special focus on the overall infrastructural development of the nation,” said PM Modi. The prime minister, who began his speech in Malayalam, said he was happy to be part of the inauguration of the Kochi Metro. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is a 50-50 joint venture of the Centre and the state government.
Describing Kochi as “Queen of the Arabian Sea”, PM Modi expressed his gratitude to the people of Kochi. “Kochi, the queen of Arabian Sea was once an important spice trading centre. Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala,” he said.
Talking about rising population in the city of Kochi, PM Modi said the population of Kochi is expected to reach 23 lakhs by 2021, and hence there was a need for a mass rapid transport system in the city. “Kochi has seen a rapid increase, expected to reach 23 lakhs by 2021. Therefore a mass rapid transport system is essential to address the increasing pressure on urban infrastructure,” he said,. It will also contribute to Kochi’s economic growth, he added.
Talking about features of Kochi Metro, PM Modi said that the metro integrates city’s entire transport services through a single system. “Kochi Metro is the first metro project to be commissioned with modern signalling system, the coaches reflect the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” he added. He also spoke about the benefits of Kochi one mobile app, which will allow travellers to avail metro services cashless.
Watch | PM Modi inaugurates Kochi Metro
Considered the fastest completed metro project in the country, Kochi Metro, the flagship transportation infrastructure project of Kerala, will start its regular operations from June 19.
PM Modi added 50 cities in India are ready to implement metro rail services. “We are also focusing on next generation infrastructure, which includes logistics, digital and gas,” he said. “In PRAGATI meetings, I have personally reviewed nearly 175 projects worth more than eight lakh crore rupees and resolved bottlenecks,” he added.
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, Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain and ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan were among those present at the inaugural function.