The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kochi Metro and dedicated the Kochi Metro to the nation.
Kochi, the queen of the Arabian Sea, is 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.
Kochi Metro is a newly inaugurated metro system for the city of Kochi in Kerala, India and is the fastest metro project in India in completion time.
The Kochi metro project became the first metro in the country which connects rail, road and water transport facilities. The first phase was set up at an estimated cost of ₹51.81 billion (US$800 million).
Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for the Kochi Metro rail project was laid in 2012 , construction work was started in June 2013 and a 13.4 km (8.3 mi) section of the line from Aluva to Palarivattom was opened to public on 17th June 2017 by PM Narendra Modi.
A second 5 km (3.1 mi) section from Palarivattom up to Maharaja’s College will be made operational by August 2017.
Kochi metro also includes the technology for driverless trains and is hoping to implement this in the near future.
Kochi metro is also involved in sustainable initiatives with the introduction of non motorized transport corridors in the city, installation of solar panels for power and vertical garden on every fourth metro pillar.
Every Kochi Metro station is designed on a specific theme around Kerala culture and geography.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited is a fifty – fifty Joint Venture of Government of India and Government of Kerala. The Union Government has so far released over two thousand crore rupees for Kochi Metro. The phase being inaugurated now will operate from Aluva to Palarivattom. It will cover 13.26 kilometres and eleven stations.
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 seventy percent.
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.
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.