Navi Mumbai, Nov 17 (IANS) After a wait of over a decade, the people of Navi Mumbai gave a ‘thumbs up’ as the twin-city finally entered the era of Metro Rail here on Friday, making it the 16th city in the country to have its own metro railway network, an official said.
The first train service on Navi Mumbai Metro Line 1 went on its maiden run from Belapur to Pendhar, with large crowds thronging the station and the precincts to watch the momentous development.
The move came a day after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s directive to the CIDCO to launch the Navi Mumbai Metro — ready for the past several months — in the interest of public convenience without waiting for the official inauguration. Long queues of excited and grinning commuters were seen for booking their tickets, and then to board the trains that will be operated till 10 p.m. tonight.
The air-conditioned rakes were gaily decorated with balloons and festoons, there were welcome banners to greet the thrilled commuters who thronged the stations to ‘catch’ the inaugural runs and their trains.
Earlier, there was speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate it in the last week of October 2023.
Last month, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aditya Thackeray had slammed the government for delaying the start of the much-needed public service, Navi Mumbai Metro, though it was ready for four months.
The CIDCO is developing a total of 4 elevated routes and the first of these, 11.10 km long Belapur-Pendhar line with 11 stations and a Metro depot at Taloja Panchanand which became operational from 3 p.m.-10 p.m.
From Saturday, regular services will commence on the entire route from 6 am-10 pm with a comfortable frequency of every 15 minutes, which is likely to be increased in future, an official said.
The ticket rates range from Rs 10-Rs 40 depending on the distance, for commuting in the airconditioned, comfortable metro train coaches, coupled with state-of-the-art facilities and security on the network.
Hailing the development, Shinde said that the Navi Mumbai Metro will provide better connectivity with the satellite city and the government plans to build a strong network of Metro Lines in the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region, with CIDCO implementing the project in Navi Mumbai effectively.
CIDCO Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Anil Diggikar said rapidly developing areas of Kharghar and Taloja will get better connectivity as also CBD Belapur through the quick, clean and efficient Navi Mumbai Metro. –IANS