First underground Metro Rail stretch becomes operational in Chennai

Underground section of Chennai Metro rail service inaugurated. DMK slams CM, Naidu for accrediting Chennai Metro Rail to Jaya
The Metro rail service between Thirumangalam and Nehru Park with seven stations, was inaugurated by Union Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu.

CHENNAI: The first underground rail service of the Chennai Metro Rail between Thirumangalam and Nehru Park was inaugurated on Sunday by Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy.

The new 7.63km long stretch spans across Tirumangalam in Anna Nagar to Nehru Park, providing direct access to the Meenambakkam Airport via Koyambedu.

This Metro line will be the third stretch to become operational in the city. The first stretch between Alandur and Koyambedu was completed in June 2015. The second one between Chennai Airport and Little Mount was completed in September 2016. However, the earlier two Metro rail services do not run through underground tunnels. This is the fourth stretch of the proposed 45-kilometer long metro rail service in the city to be thrown open for use by commuters.

Tickets prices are set to be capped at Rs 70. The new Metro line is expected to serve more than 20,000 commuters per day.

According to Chennai Metro Rail project director Rajeev Narayan Dwivedi, full Metro services in Chennai will be available from 2018.

DMK slams CM, Naidu for accrediting Chennai Metro Rail to Jaya

The DMK today hit out at Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Union minister M Venkiah Naidu for giving credit for Chennai Metro rail’s launch to former AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa and pointed to efforts made by it for the project.

Giving details of the work done by his party-led government of 2006-11, DMK working president M K Stalin said such “lies were being peddled to overshadow” the role of his father and party president M Karunanidhi in the multi-crore project as chief minister.

Lies were being “constantly peddled with one single motive of overshadowing the role” of Karunanidhi in initiating his “dream project” for Chennai, he said in a statement.

“And this time it is the chief minister (Palaniswami) and Venkaiah Naidu who have gone to the extent of mouthing a blatant lie that it was Jayalalithaa who initiated this project,” he said.

Stalin said the decision on the Chennai Metro rail project was taken in 2007 when Karunanidhi was chief minister.

The DMK government “went forward with the project proposal of Rs 14,600 crore”, he said.

“During that time,I personally oversaw the project and I would like to note that the up and running line from Alandur to Koyambedu and the underground line from Thirumangalam to Nehru Park is the first leg of success for the plan initiated by the DMK government,” he said.

Stalin, the then deputy chief minister, said he had visited Tokyo to secure funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and that it had “resulted” in a loan agreement under which the Japanese agency had to contribute 59 per cent of the funds for the project.

Subsequently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs of the UPA government had approved the project in January 2009 and a ‘General Consultant’ was appointed by the DMK government the next month, he said.

The first tender was floated in February 2009 to set up the upper railway bridge (VIADUCT) for the project from Koyambedu to Ashok Nagar, he said, adding a total of nine tenders were issued by the DMK government for various tasks.

“When this is the reality, I am deeply shocked and amused by the words of the Chief Minister and Naidu who chose to twist facts to their needs,” he said.

Yesterday, Palaniswami had alleged DMK government had delayed the Chennai Metro Rail work.

“When the Metro Rail project was approved by Government of India at a cost of Rs 14,600 crore, DMK was in power from 2006 to 2011,but spent only Rs 1,143 crore,” he had said after flagging off the Thirumangalam-Nehru Park underground service.

He had said that from June 2011 to April 2017, the AIADMK government had spent nearly Rs 13,787 crore on the project.

Union minister Naidu, who had participated in the flagging off ceremony on Sunday with Palaniswamy, had said expansion of metro rail in the state capital was Jayalalithaa’s dream.