BENGALURU: At 6.20pm on Saturday, President Pranab Mukherjee unveiled a plaque at Vidhana Soudha and waved off the symbolic green flag for the first train to run between Mantri Square Sampige Road station and Yelachenahalli, thereby ringing in a dramatic change in the way Bengalureans will commute from Sunday.
The commissioning of this 11.3km of the Green Line with an interchange at Kempe Gowda Metro station will ensure fast and smooth interconnectivity between North, South, East and West of Bengaluru.
With this sector declared open, the entire 42.3km Phase-I project that cost `13,845 crore will finally become operational after it was okayed by the Union Cabinet in 2006 and bypassed numerous deadlines. It also makes Bengaluru the second city after Delhi to have a full-fledged Metro. While fares will rise by 10-15 per cent on Sunday, the upside is commuting time will reduce by half.
CM Siddaramaiah pointed out, “The journey from East to West should take 33 minutes and North to South, 45 minutes.”
In his inaugural speech, the President lauded the Bengaluru Metro team for completing the project in 10 years. Mukherjee said, “Working in thickly populated areas, making tunnels through the hard rock of the Deccan Plateau, proximity to water table, handling modern technologies are some areas which our engineers must have dealt with and overcome.”
He added, “It is indeed a very happy coincidence that the Prime Minister opened the Metro system in Kochi today.” There will be eight Metros in the country now, he said.