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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Aqua Line ready but officials await a launch date

At the 18th board meeting of the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) on December 28, decisions over several aspects of the Aqua Line’s functioning, including its security, were highlighted.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | Noida | Published: January 10, 2019 1:22:47 am
Aqua Line ready but officials await a launch date The 29.7-kilometre Aqua Line is spread across 21 stations. (Express: Gajendra Yadav)

A final decision over the agency that will oversee the Aqua Line’s security could be a possible reason for the delay of its launch, officials have said.

According to a senior official in the Noida Authority, the government is yet to take a call on which agency will be assigned the role. Traditionally, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), formed by an Act of Parliament in 1969, has been looking after Delhi Metro’s security since 2007.

At the 18th board meeting of the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) on December 28, decisions over several aspects of the Aqua Line’s functioning, including its security, were highlighted.

EXPLAINED

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The Aqua line in Noida and Greater Noida will bring a safe mode of transport to parts previously ignored. While some areas in Noida are connected by the mass transit system, this will be Greater Noida’s first Metro line. Officials said the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities are expecting more people to occupy houses lying vacant on the stretch between the twin cities. The authorities will now have to meet the challenge of providing last-mile connectivity to ensure commuter ease and safety.

According to authority officials, Metro corridor’s security on the Aqua Line has been granted by the UP government to the 49th Battalion of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), whose officers will be trained by CISF. Some personnel from private security agencies are also supposed to be deployed. A part of the operational expenses will be shared equally by the state government, and the Noida and Greater Noida authorities, officials added. However, a final decision is yet to be taken on who will be responsible for securing the stretch.

“We have sent the proposal to the government seeking a launch date. From our end, all due diligence is complete. We have been given a go-ahead by the safety commissioner as well. It is safe to say that we are ready for the launch,” said P D Upadhyay, executive director, NMRC.

Upadhyay claimed that it is a “routine delay” and that there is no “bottleneck” in the launch.

A representative of the UP government said: “We have received the proposal from the Metro authorities. The Chief Minister will soon respond with a launch date.”

According to earlier reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to inaugurate the Aqua Line on December 25, 2018. Since then, no specific date has been announced by the authorities for the launch.

The 29.7-km Aqua Line is spread across 21 stations between Sector 71 and Depot Station in Greater Noida. During the first year, officials said the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will look after commercial operations.

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