Prime Minister flags off India’s first fully integrated metro
By Matters India Reporter
Kochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17 flagged off the Kochi Metro, India’s first fully integrated metro, and took a ride on one of the trains.
The Kochi Metro has already hit headline employing 23 transgender people in various departments. The trains will be driven mainly by women from a self-help group.
One of the fastest to be built in the country, the Kochi Metro is the first public transport system to reserve jobs for members of the third sex and it will be manned mainly by women of a self-help group.
Modi reached Palarivattam station, cut ribbon and boarded the metro as its first passenger. He travelled to Pathadippalam station and returned to Palarivattam again in 15 minutes.
He was accompanied by federal Minister Venkiah Naidu, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and E. Sreedharan, who is known as India’s Metro Man.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited is a joint venture of the federal and Kerala governments. The federal government has so far released more than 20 billion rupees for the project, Modi told a public meeting.
The Metro coaches reflect the Make in India vision as they have been built by Alstom near Chennai, and have an Indian component of around 70 per cent.
Kerala Metro Rail Limited managing director Elias George said the rail line would appoint more people from the transgender community based on their qualifications.
“We are really excited. It will open a new window for us. With this, we hope other institutions and organizations open their doors for us,” says Raga Ranjini, a transgender with master’s degree appointed to manage the ticket counter at one station.
The Kochi Metro is the county’s first fully integrated metro. With one ticket, a commuter can travel in feeder services along road and water.
It has also installed solar panels atop all stations to tap green energy.
Once fully operational, the Metro’s entire power demand will be met by these panels.
In the first phase, trains will operate for a distance of 13 km — Aluva to Palarivattom with 11 stations that will be covered in 20 minutes. Later, it will be extended to Maharajas College Ernakulam.
Construction for the first phase began in 2012 after the then Oommen Chandy government entrusted the work to the Sreedharan of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation as its principal advisor.
On the same day, Modi also launched the PN Panicker National Reading Day – Reading Month Celebrations — at St Teresa’s College Ernakulam.
Panicker was the driving spirit behind the library network in Kerala through the Kerala Grandhasala Sangham with 47 libraries.