CHENNAI: THE Centre will support the proposed Phase II of Chennai Metro Rail, Union Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday.
Responding to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s request for project approval, Naidu said his ministry was currently examining the detailed project report submitted by the State government. “We will sanction approval at the earliest and forward it to the Public Investment Board and the Finance Ministry,” he said.
The three proposed corridors, involving a total length of about 108 km, are Madhavaram to Siruseri (45.77 km), Madhavaram to Sholinganallur (44.66 km) and the CMBT to Light House (17.12 km).
Earlier on Sunday, the first ever underground section of the Chennai Metro Rail between Thirumangalam and Nehru Park (7.236 km) was inaugurated. Naidu and Palaniswamy flagged off the service.
The newly inaugurated line has seven stations, all located underground. It will provide direct and convenient link for passengers to travel from Nehru Park to either Airport or St Thomas Mount, through the already operational line from Koyembedu.
At present, Chennai has around 28 km of Metro operation out of the total 45 km of Chennai Metro Rail Project under Phase I. Work for the project started in 2007 and an amount of `14,600 crore was sanctioned by the Union government.
In his address, Naidu said a new Metro Rail policy was being formulated, which would enable innovative finance, such as Land Value Capture and Transit Oriented Development for new Metro Rail projects.
“The Central government is also planning to roll out a new Green Urban Mobility Scheme aimed at providing last-mile connectivity through non-motorised transport, such as pedestrian pathways and bicycle sharing schemes,” he said.
For the huge crowd that gathered at Thirumangalam Metro station, the underground journey proved a new and exciting experience.
J N Jainath, a Class VI student, had come along with his younger brother and father. “I have gone in the elevated corridor but to travel beneath the surface is a unique experience,” he said.