Kochi is going to have its first metro. Today PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kochi’s metro and will also take a ride on one of the trains in the fastest-built Metro in the country. The Kochi metro is going to be the first public transport system to reserve jobs for members of the third sex and it will be manned mainly by women a self-help group.
PM, Modi will board the Kochi metro from Palarivattom station to Pathadipplam and will return to Palarivattom. Then he will proceed to Kaloor international stadium, the venue of the inaugural ceremony. The Metro train, which the Prime Minister will board, will be wrapped in a design representing the beauty of Kochi and the state. It touches upon the rural life in the state and is complete with the `Pappanji‘ of Kochi, monuments, festivals and other spectacular sights from Kerala.
On the occassion of Kochi Metro inauguration, it is expected that PM, Modi will share the dais with the Metro’s main architect E Sreedharan, whose name is doing the rounds as a possible nominee for India’s next President.
The Metro has employed 23 transgenders in various departments based on their qualifications. Selected after a written test and interview, they were given three-month training. More workers from the community will be inducted after gauging their success, said Kerala Metro Rail Limited managing director Elias George.
“We are really excited. It will open a new window for us. With this, we hope other institutions and organisations open their doors for us,” said Raga Ranjini, a post-graduate who will be manning a ticket counter in one of the stations.
She said the Metro will help them earn respect and change the living conditions of the third sex.
It is also the county’s first fully integrated metro. With one ticket, a commuter can travel in feeder services along road and water.
Besides this, the Metro has installed solar panels atop all stations to tap green energy. Once fully operational, the Metro’s entire power demand will be met by these panels.
In the first phase, trains will operate for a distance of 13 km – Aluva to Palarivattom. There are 11 stations in the 13-km stretch that will be covered in 20 minutes. Later, it will be extended to Maharajas College. Construction for the first phase began in 2012 after the Oommen Chandy government entrusted the work to the DMRC with Sreedharan as its principal advisor.
French ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler and German ambassador to India Dr Martin Nay will attend the inaugural function of Kochi Metro. The city police confirmed that both the diplomats have reached the city on Friday. French and German funding agencies are actively involved in the development of Kochi Metro and Kochi Water Metro respectively. Sources said the ambassadors are expected to take a ride on the Metro when the inaugural event is over.