Navi Mumbai, India (Metro Rail Today): In a momentous event at 3 pm on Friday, Navi Mumbai witnessed the inauguration of its first Metro line. Amidst enthusiastic cheers and slogans, Aditi Padyar, a skilled woman train operator, embarked on the maiden journey of Line 1 from Belapur to Pendhar. Padyar, one of three women operators for the Navi Mumbai metro, expressed her dedication after months of rigorous training, including numerous trial runs, having previously operated the Monorail for two years.
The inaugural services were graced by the presence of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Narvekar. Among the elated commuters were 5-year-old Siya and her father Prasad Kadam, who shared their joy. Prasad emphasized the significance of this long-awaited project, predicting immense benefits for Kharghar and Taloja residents.
Siya's first train journey, covering Pendhar to Belapur in just 30 minutes, marked the realization of improved connectivity and swift transit promised by the Navi Mumbai metro.
The Navi Mumbai Metro, ready nearly five months prior, finally opened its doors to the public. However, several other infrastructure projects poised to impact the lives of millions in Mumbai have been awaiting formal inauguration for months. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was initially slated to inaugurate these projects, including the Navi Mumbai metro, on October 15. Unfortunately, the event was canceled due to the potential of a heatwave. Despite rescheduling to October 30, the inauguration faced another cancellation.
CIDCO, the project implementing authority, plans to deploy a total of eight sets of three-coach rakes for services. According to CIDCO's release, the fare structure is designed to be accessible, ranging from Rs 10 for 0 to 2 km to Rs 40 for distances beyond 10 km.
The Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS) had approved operations on the complete stretch in June, and CIDCO had issued a tender in October seeking an event management company for the inauguration ceremony.
Anil Diggikar, vice-chairman and managing director of CIDCO, emphasized that the rapidly developing Kharghar and Taloja nodes would benefit from improved connectivity with Belapur through the Metro. He anticipates that the Metro's efficient public transport system will enhance Navi Mumbai's standing as an international city.
The Navi Mumbai Metro boasts state-of-the-art air-conditioned coaches, dual entry and exit arrangements on both north and south sides of the stations, parking spaces, ramps for disabled passengers, footpaths, areas for auto-rickshaws, diesel generators with UPS for continuous power supply, passenger announcement systems, CCTV surveillance, specially designed toilets for disabled persons at concourse levels, and commercial shops in the concourse area.
This elevated Metro line, in the making for the past 13 years since the laying of its foundation stone in 2011, faced challenges related to contractors and technical obstacles, leading to delays.
The inauguration of Navi Mumbai's first Metro line marks a significant leap in the city's public transportation infrastructure. The event not only fulfills the long-standing aspirations of residents but also promises improved connectivity and enhanced commuting experiences. As Navi Mumbai takes a giant stride towards becoming an international city, the Metro stands as a symbol of progress and convenience for its residents.