Chennai, Jun 29: The first phase of the much anticipated multi-crore Metro Rail chugged into the city on Monday, with Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa flagging off the inaugural service steered by a woman driver.
Jayalalithaa launched the services on the Alandur-Koyambedu sector by flagging it off from the state secretariat through live video, throwing open to the public a mass rapid transport system.
The route dedicated to the public is an elevated structure covering a distance of 10.15 km, consisting of Alandur, Ekkathuthangal, Ashok Nagar, Vadapalani, Arumbakkam and Koyambedu Railway stations besides the yard at the last stop, a state government release here said. [Young woman steers Chennai's first Metro train]
The route of the train has been mainly on the busy 100 ft road and would cater to lakhs of commuters when fully completed. The first train having four coaches, which left at 12.15 PM from Alandur to Koyambedu was driven by A Preethi, a 28- year-old diploma holder in engineering from Government Dharmambal Polytechnic College here.
The flower decked sprawling and swanky Alandur metro station, the biggest in Chennai, was brimming with activity, with enthusiastic passengers eager to board the first train. [Chennai metro may put Bengaluru to shame]
"I wanted to board the first metro train, I hope metro makes travel easier and a pleasure," said K Ramesh a young executive. The 45 km Metro Rail project is estimated to cost Rs 14,600 crore and would cover two routes-- the 23.085 km Wannarapet to Airport section-- and the 21.961 km stretch from Chennai Central to St.Thomas Mount.
Of the total expenditure, Centre's contribution is 15 percent as share capital and five percent as loans, while that of the Tamil Nadu government is at 15 percent in share capital and 5.78 percent as loans, the release said, adding the state has released its entire share of funds.
The rest 59.22 percent has been sourced as loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the release said.
A sum of Rs 1143.31 crore had been spent on the scheme between 2007-08 and 2010-11 and an additional Rs 9608.63 crore from that year till date, it said adding a total sum of Rs 10,751.94 crore was the expenditure since work commenced on the Metro rail activity.