Kochi, Sep 7(PTI) Metro Rail services in Kochi resumed on Monday after being suspended for five months due to the COVID-19 lockdown even as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the newly finished Thykoodam-Pettah stretch.
The Metro services between Thykoodam and Aluva resumed at 7 am, adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
The inauguration of the Thykoodam-Aluva stretch of the Kochi Metro marked completion of the first phase of the urban transport mobility in the coastal city at a cost of Rs 6,218 crore.
Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri presided over the function held on a virtual platform, hours after the Kochi Metro resumed services.
In his address, Puri said that the state government's proposal for Phase-2 of Kochi Metro is under active consideration of the Central government and 'it is our expectation that we will be able to have the approval for this conveyed very soon.' The Union Minister noted that with the completion of fresh stretch, Kochi Metro will be able to increase the ridership to over one lakh per day.
Stating that the commencement of work on the Kochi Metro project marked an important milestone in the development of Greater Cochin region, Vijayan in his inaugural address, said with the inauguration of 1.33 km new stretch, the Metro here would be declaring completion of its Phase 1 covering a total length of 25.2 km.
Though the stretch was completed in March this year, the pandemic and lockdown delayed it's operationalisation, the chief minister said.
He said the state government has accorded administrative sanction for the Metro service from Pettah to Tripunithura which consists of 3.2 km with three more stations on an amount of Rs 1,066 crore and works are going on in full swing.
The Chief Minister expressed hope that the Central government will accord sanction for the proposal for Phase 2 of the project comprising an extension of 11.2 km of the existing Metro line of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to Infopark via Kakkanad with 11 stations.
The state government has already sanctioned the funds for the preparatory works for the Phase 2, he said.
Meanwhile, the Kochi Metro services between Thykoodam and Aluva resumed at 7 am, adhering to COVID-19 protocol, a Kochi Metro spokesman said.
He said trains will run from 7 am to 9 pm with 10 minute breaks.
'There is no rush. The services are being carried out adhering to the restrictions to prevent spread of coronavirus,' a Kochi Metro official said.
Officials said measures were in place to frequently disinfect all the areas in the stations where the passengers are likely to touch and passengers are under surveillance to ensure that they follow social distancing norms.
In a bid to reduce contact, cashless transactions are encouraged and for this, use of Kochi One card is promoted, they said.
Kochi Metro launched its first service from Aluva to Palarivattom in June 2017 and the stretch up to the Maharaja's College Ground was commissioned in October in the same year.
The stretch from Maharaja's College junction to Thykoodam was inaugurated in September last year.PTI TGB SS PTI PTI