Modi inaugurates Kochi Metro, calls for paradigm shift in urban planning

Kochi, June 17, 2017

Modi flags off Kochi Metro, takes brief ride
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said there was need to bring about a paradigm shift in urban planning in the country, by adopting a people-centric approach and integrating land-use and transport.
"Towards this end, the Government of India issued a National Transit Oriented Development Policy in April 2017. This policy seeks to transform cities, from being transit dependent to being transit oriented. It aims to create compact walkable communities and bring public transport closer to transit," he said in an addresss at a function at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here to dedicate Kochi Metro to the nation.
Earlier, Mr. Modi inaugurated the Kochi Metro at Palarivattom junction, and travelled briefly on the new metro line, accompanied by Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gouba, Kerala Chief Secretary Nalini Netto, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan and Kochi Metro Rail Limited Managing Director Elias George.
Mr. Modi said that, over the last three years, his Government had placed special focus on overall infrastructure development of the nation. 
"Railways, roads, power have been our priority areas. In PRAGATI meetings, I have personally reviewed nearly 175 projects worth more than eight lakh crore rupees. We have resolved bottlenecks and significantly improved the average rate of implementation in these sectors. Now, we are also focusing on next generation infrastructure, which includes logistics, digital and gas," he said.
He said a number of initiatives had been taken by the Government to enhance public transport particularly in the cities. Foreign investment has been invited in this sector. Fifty cities in India are ready to implement metro rail projects, he said.
Mr. Modi said the economic and social benefits of metro rail systems are well-known. 
"We have speeded up policy formulation in this sector. Recently, the Government of India has standardized the specifications for rolling stock and signalling systems of metro rail. This will encourage manufacturers to set-up manufacturing facilities in India with a long-term perspective. In line with the 'Make in India' vision, efforts are being made to promote domestic manufacture of metro rolling stock," he said.
Congratulating the people of Kochi on the occasion, he said the city, the queen of the Arabian Sea, was an important spice trading centre. "Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala. Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala. Hence it is fitting that Kochi should have a Metro rail facility," he said.
Mr. Modi noted that the city's population had been rising steadily, and was expected to reach 23 lakh by 2021. Therefore, a mass rapid transport system is essential to address the increasing pressure on urban infrastructure, he said, adding that it would also contribute to Kochi’s economic growth. 
He said KMRL is a 50:50 joint venture of the Government of India and the Government of Kerala. The Union Government has so far released over Rs. 2000 crore for Kochi Metro. The phase inaugurated today will operate from Aluva to Palarivattom. It will cover 13.26 kilometres and eleven stations. 
Mr. Modi also noted that the metro project has several significant features. It is the first metro project to be commissioned with a modern signalling system called the “Communication Based Train Control Signalling system”. The coaches reflect the “Make in India” vision. They have been built by Alstom of France, at their factory near Chennai, and have an Indian component of around 70 percent. 
He said the Kochi metro integrates the city’s entire public transportation network into a single system. This system will have a common time-table, common ticketing and centralised `command and control’. It also focuses on improving last mile connectivity and non-motorised transportation systems in the inner city. 
The Kochi Metro has also pioneered an innovative PPP model for ticketing. Indian banks and financial institutions are being invited through a bid process to invest in an Automated Fare Collection system. The selected bank will co-brand the Kochi Metro Fare Card and App with the bank’s name. 
"I am informed that this Kochi-1 Card is a multi-purpose pre-paid contact-less RuPay card which can be used to travel in the metro and also like a normal debit card. Kochi will be one of the few cities in the world and the first in India to have a modern open-loop Smart Card, which can be used with other modes of transport like buses, taxies and autos as well. 
"I am also informed that the Kochi-1 Mobile app has been developed with a long term vision. The mobile App has an Electronic-wallet integrated to it, which is linked to the Kochi-1 Card. Initially, it will enable citizens of Kochi to avail of metro services. In future, it will fulfil all their travel related requirements, regular payment needs and provide city and tourist information. Thus, it is a good example of an e-Governance digital platform. 
"Another noteworthy aspect of this project is that nearly one thousand women and twenty-three transgenders are being selected to work in the Kochi Metro Rail System. 
"The project is also an example of environment friendly development. It plans to meet nearly twenty five percent of the entire energy requirements from renewable sources, particularly solar energy. The long-term plan is to become a zero-carbon emitting urban transit system. Every sixth pillar of the metro system will have a covered vertical garden, which will substantially use urban solid waste.
"It is heartening to note that all stations as well as the Operation Control Centre of Kochi Metro have achieved platinum rating which is the highest certification level given by the Indian Green Building Council," he said.
Mr. Modi complimented the Union Ministry of Urban Development led by for having formulated a Value Capture Finance Policy Framework. This provides a mechanism to capture the increased land value. 
"Let me conclude by congratulating the citizens of Kochi, the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation and the Chief Minister of Kerala for achieving this important milestone. Kochi was selected as a Smart City in Round One of the challenge process in January 2016. I hope it will do even better in the days to come," he added.
Kochi Metro will start revenue operations on June 19, from 6 am onwards. The trains will start from Aluva and Palarivattom from 6 am simultaneously and will finish the day's ride at 10 pm at Aluva.
The headway will be 8.20 minutes and there will be 219 trips between 6 am and 10 pm from June 19 onwards.

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