Phase-1 of Chen­nai Metro com­pleted

PM Modi inaugurates fi­nal 10-km stretch

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS - TE RAJA SIMHAN

R Sri­ram, a res­i­dent of Pallavaram, has been wait­ing to take the Metro to his of­fice in Broad­way, and put an end to his stress­ful com­mute by car. His wish has fi­nally come true with the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the fi­nal 10km stretch be­tween AG-DMS and Wash­er­man­pet on Sun­day by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, via a video con­fer­ence from Tirup­pur, in the pres­ence of Tamil Nadu Chief Min­is­ter Eda­paddi K Palaniswami.

Now, the en­tire 45-km first phase of the Chen­nai Metro rail net­work is up and run­ning.

A pas­sen­ger can now take a ride from Wash­er­man­pet to Chen­nai air­port (21 km) in about 45 min­utes and for ₹60 as against twice the time and more than triple the cost it would take to go by road.

The fi­nal 10-km stretch is en­tirely un­der­ground with sta­tions at AG-DMS, Thou­sand Lights, LIC, Govern­ment Es­tate, Chen­nai Cen­tral, Madras High Court, Man­nady and Wash­er­men­pet.

Long wait

It has been a decade-long wait for Chen­naites to see the first phase com­pleted af­ter con­struc­tion be­gan in June 2009, cov­er­ing seven sta­tions from Koy­ambedu to Alan­dur over a dis­tance of 10 km with op­er­a­tions start­ing in June 2015.

Fol­low­ing this was the open­ing of the sec­tion from Lit­tle Mount to Chen­nai air­port (Septem­ber 2016), Alan­dur to St. Thomas Mount (Oc­to­ber 2016), Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi (cen­tre) flag­ging off the fi­nal stretch of the phase-I of Chen­nai Metro Rail from Wash­er­man­pet to Tey­nam­pet DMS in Chen­nai over video con­fer­ence fa­cil­ity from Tirupur on Sun­day. With him are (from left) Union Min­is­ter Pon Rad­hakr­ish­nan, Tamil Nadu Gover­nor Ban­war­i­lal Purohit, Tamil Nadu Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Min­is­ter O Pan­ner­sel­vam

Koy­ambedu to Nehru Park (May 2017), Nehru Park to Chen­nai Cen­tral (May 2018) and Lit­tle Mount to AG-DMS (May 2018). Sun­day’s in­au­gu­ra­tion marks the end of the first phase of con­struc­tion. It has been a bumpy ride for the ₹14,600-crore project, which wit­nessed many hur­dles, such as de­lays in land ac­qui­si­tion, roads cav­ing in in many ar­eas and cost es­ca­la­tion, with the per km cost soar­ing to around ₹400 crore against the es­ti­mated ₹324 crore.

There was also a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment when a Rus­sian ven­dor — Mos­met­rostroy — en­gaged in a tun­nelling project left abruptly seek­ing higher re­mu­ner­a­tion.

But in the end, Chen­nai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) pulled off one of the most chal­leng­ing in­fra­struc­ture projects in the State. The net­work now has two cor­ri­dors — from Air­port to Wash­er­men­pet and from St Thomas Mount to Chen­nai Cen­tral via Koy­ambedu and Eg­more. More im­por­tantly, the metro will now con­nect South Chen­nai with the North, a re­gion ne­glected for decades. It will also con­nect with ma­jor

trans­port hubs, in­clud­ing Chen­nai Cen­tral, Chen­nai Eg­more and Chen­nai Mo­fussil Bus Ter­mi­nus (CMBT) — al­low­ing pas­sen­gers to seam­lessly switch over to other modes of trans­port such as bus, sub­ur­ban or MRTS. Ev­ery day, around 50,000 pas­sen­gers use the metro, and this num­ber is ex­pected to in­crease sub­stan­tially, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial of the CMRL, which has also taken care of last-mile con­nec­tiv­ity till the ma­jor sta­tions by pro­vid­ing feeder auto ser­vices and also bi­cy­cles for hire. He ex­pects those trav­el­ling by car and twowheel­ers to mi­grate to the metro.

Soil test­ing for phase-II

The stage is now set for phase II of the Chen­nai Metro, cov­er­ing 52 km (two cor­ri­dors) for which soil test­ing is go­ing on across the city. CMRL has al­ready signed a loan agree­ment with Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency. It has in-prin­ci­ple ap­proval from Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank, New De­vel­op­ment Bank, Euro­pean In­fra­struc­ture Bank and the World bank.

Phase II cov­ers 119 km over

three cor­ri­dors: Mad­havaram to Sholin­ganal­lur, Mad­havaram to CMBT and Light House to Meenakshi Col­lege, with work to com­mence on the first two cor­ri­dors, cov­er­ing 52 km.

Modi also laid the foun­da­tion stone for the ₹2,467 crore mod­erni­sa­tion of the Chen­nai In­ter­na­tional Air­port (phase-II) and for a new In­te­grated Ter­mi­nal Build­ing at Tiruchi­ra­palli In­ter­na­tional air­port, cost­ing ₹951.28 crore. He also ded­i­cated the BPCL En­nore Coastal In­stal­la­tion and a new crude oil pipe­line from Chen­nai port to CPCL Manali Re­fin­ery to the na­tion.

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