Metro could play big role in decongesting traffic: Jaipal Reddy

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New Delhi, Jun 3 (UNI) Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy today said the Delhi Metro could play an important role in decongesting roads in the city by providing safe and affordable public transport.

''In today's age when rapid urbanisation has put increasing pressure on the roads in the form of an ever increasing number of private vehicles, a public transport system which is both comfortable and affordable could lead to people switching over from private vehicles to public transport. It is in this context that the Delhi Metro could play an important role,'' Mr Reddy said after inaugurating the Dilshad Garden-Shahdara Metro section, the first line under the crucial Phase II of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation which has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 466 crore.

Describing the Delhi Metro as the pride not only of Delhi but of the entire country, Mr Reddy said,''the Delhi Metro has become a beacon to people in other cities of India. I am proud to say that Delhi has blazed a trail in this regard.

I am sure in the coming years, the Metro will extend its reach to other cities. In fact, the Metro has already been extended to areas like Noida and Gurgaon in neighbouring states. Further, we are trying to extend the Metro in other states like Mumbai and Hyderabad.'' Mr Reddy suggested that to achieve a speedy shifting from private vehicles to public transport, the DMRC should also look at multi-level parking at its stations as also achieving physical integration with other modes of transport like buses, autos and cycle rickshaws.

''There is also need for multi-modal integration through measures like introduction of feeder buses to and from metro stations,''Mr Reddy said and hoped that in the coming years, Delhi would be known for its great Metro system, ''Which can easily be described as the greatest project in the city in the last 60 years.'' Speaking at the inauguration function of the 3.1 km section, comprising three elevated stations Mansarovar Park, Jhilmil and Dilshad Garden, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the operationalisation of the line, which commences operations tomorrow, would benefit the maximum number of people.

''The line extends the operational Line-1 by 3.1 km and is close to Delhi's border with Uttar Pradesh. It will greatly benefit commuters from the neighbouring state who earlier had to take buses from the border to various parts of Delhi,''Ms Dikshit said.

Lauding the Delhi Metro as an endeavour which had the potential to bring about a much needed switch-over from private vehicles to public transport in Delhi, the Chief Minister said,''If we have to change the transport scenario in the real sense, then we have to think of the common man who today is faced with the dilemma of having to choose between travelling by public transport and buying his own vehicle.'' In this context, she promised that the Delhi government would in the coming years intorduce a huge network of buses for the commuting public so as to encourage people to switch from their private vehicles to public transport.

''We hope to transform the public transport in the coming years so that people can leave their vehicles behind and catch an affordable and comfortable public transport system like the Delhi Metro.

Infact, this project has been envisaged to facilitate a modern face of the Capital city and the country,''Ms Dikshit said.

Also present at the inauguration were East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit, Transport Mionister Haroon Yusuf, Delhi mayor Arti Mehra, area MLA Vir Singh Dhingan and the chairman of the Trans Yamuna Boad Narendra Nath.

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