South India's first underground metro operational in Bengaluru

PTI4_29_2016_000280B A metro employee takes a selfie during a ride in metro after the flagging off the Underground Metro Route from Cubbon Park-Magadi Road in Bengaluru on Friday | PTI

The Namma Metor's Purple Line, which connects Bengaluru's east and west, was thrown open for commuters on Saturday from 6 AM. The underground line from the Cubbon park to the City Railway station was inaugurated on Friday amid much fanfare, with hundreds of eager city dwellers thronging the metro stations to experience their first underground metro ride.

The highlight of the newly inaugurated 28-km metro line is its 5.12-km underground stretch, which makes it south India's first operational underground section.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu were among other top dignitaries present during the inauguration of the Purple Line on Friday at the Vidhana Soudha underground station.

The project suffered a five-year delay due to the presence of a hard rock, which made the drilling process difficult. It took two huge tunnel boring machines from Japan called Helen and Margarita and 3 years of drilling for the Bengaluru metro officials to complete the underground section.

The operation of the Purple Line of the Bengaluru Metro should bring a much-needed relief to commuters, who have been reeling under serious traffic congestion. It usually takes more than a couple of hours during a peak hour traffic to travel from Mysuru Road in the west to Byapanahalli in the east. However, now it should not take more than 33 minutes to cover this 18-km ride.

Siddaramaiah speaking at the inauguration said that the state government would soon release Rs 9,000 crore and Rs 8,100 crore after that for the Phase II.

“The total project cost of the Phase I was about Rs 13,845 coroe, of which Rs 5,335 was funded by the state government,” Siddaramaiah posted on his Twitter account. He also added that the rest of the Phase I is expected to be operational by November.

Venkaiah Naidu also appealed to Bengaluru commuters to use metro services to decongest the city roads of private vehicles, noting that traffic officials were mulling the introduction of congestion tax.

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