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Metro to chug into Kochi’s business hub

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Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to inaugurate service on Aluva-MG Road stretch tomorrow

The much-awaited extension of Kochi metro into the city on October 3 will see commuters from surburban Aluva take the elevated route to reach the Central Business District (CBD), covering an 18-km distance in 32 minutes.

On bus, the same route would take over an hour to cover. A three-coach train capable of carrying a ‘crush load’ of 930 people would operate every nine minutes in the corridor. Nine such trains will operate in the route between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. every day. The fare for the full distance will be ₹50. Two more trains will operate on weekends and holidays.

Inauguration

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate Kochi metro’s MG Road extension at 11 a.m. at the Ernakulam Town Hall, in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. They will reach the venue on a metro train they flag off from the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium at 10.30 a.m. The commercial operations will begin once the inauguration is over.

Just as in the Aluva-Palarivattom stretch, each of the five stations on the 5-km-long Palarivattom-Maharaja’s Ground corridor has a unique theme. The stadium station has Kerala’s sporting heritage as its theme. The MG Road station has Ernakulam and its history as the focal theme, wherein the city’s diverse cultural heritage and trade with other countries will be the highlights.

The other three stations have elements of Western Ghats as the theme to drive home the point that the region, which is home to diverse and unique biodiversity, has to be protected. Monsoon, waterfalls, and waterbodies are portrayed at Kaloor station, while the Lissie Junction station sports dragonflies and butterflies that hover around the Ghats. Endangered species and mammals constitute the theme of Maharajas Ground.

The KMRL is redoing footpaths and drains in the Aluva-Ernakulam North stretch and along MG Road so that people can walk up to the nearest station. Efforts are made to relocate bus stops nearer to the stations.

“Tactile tiles are being laid over a portion of the footpaths to help the visually challenged use them with ease. The footpath and drainage rebuilding works will be over by December. A majority of people are supporting our initiative to improve pedestrian space, except encroachers who were removed and those who were using public space for parking. Dedicated ducts too are being built, to accommodate cables and pipelines,” said Elias George, MD of KMRL.

On the initial opposition from a few people to the walkway built by the KMRL in Panampilly Nagar, he said the complainants became the biggest supporters once the project was realised with the help of French urban planners. The metro agency is also widening, developing, and landscaping Aluva and Edapally junctions, spending ₹10 crore on each. Vyttila is next in line. This is apart from the ₹160 crore earmarked to improve space around the 22 metro stations in the Aluva-Pettah corridor. The aim is to streamline traffic flow and to enable integration of commuting modes.

[“Source-thehindu”]

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Loknath Das

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