Bengaluru on Saturday became the second city in the country, and the first in south India, to have a full-fledged Metro rail in operation following the opening of a final 12-km section of the 42-km first phase of the Metro project. The first phase, comprising an 18-km east-west line and a 24-km north-south line, built at a cost of Rs 13,845 crore, was dedicated to the nation by President Pranab Mukherjee at an event in Bengaluru.
“Bengaluru now becomes the second city after New Delhi to have a full-fledged Metro network to serve its citizens,” Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said.
As many as five lakh people are expected to use phase 1 of the Bengaluru Metro on a daily basis when it is thrown open to the public from Sunday.
Following the inauguration of a 13.2-km stretch on the Kochi Metro by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the opening of the 42-km Bengaluru Metro, a total of 370 km in nine cities is covered by a Metro or Mono Rail system, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.
As many as 15 lakh people are expected to be users of the phase II of the project, which is expected to be completed in 2020.
In addition to the 72-km second phase of the Bengaluru Metro, the Karnataka government is in the process of constructing a 17-km line between tech hubs in the south and east of the city at a cost of Rs 4,202 crore. The funds will be generated by an innovative funding system, with contributions from IT companies located along the line, Naidu said.
Siddaramaiah said that the state government is also planning expansion of the Metro network to the Kempe Gowda International Airport in the city. Airport connectivity is part of the phase 1, phase 2 or tech hubs connectivity planned by the BMRCL.
When first cleared by the public investment board of the central government in 2005, the cost of phase 1 of the Bengaluru Metro project was estimated to be in the range of Rs 5,747 crore. It escalated to Rs 13,845 crore on account of delays, including time taken for tunneling the underground sections through the rocky substrata in parts of the city.
There are a total of 40 stations — 33 elevated and seven underground — and the maximum end-to-end travel time of 53 minutes on the east-west line and 44 minutes on the north-south line in phase 1.