Kochi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dedicated the first phase of Kochi Metro to the nation, took a brief ride in it and hailed its “several significant features”, especially employment to transgenders and women.
Addressing the gathering after dedicating the project, he stressed the need to bring about a “paradigm shift” in urban planning by adopting a people-centric approach and integrating land use and transport.
He described as “noteworthy” the selection of nearly 1,000 women and 23 transgenders to work in the Kochi Metro Rail System.
“…Futuristic infrastructure that will contribute to India’s growth,” the prime minister tweeted shortly after a ride in the Metro with dignitaries including Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan.
Union Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gouba, Kerala Chief Secretary Nalini Netto and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan also travelled with the prime minister.
Modi, in his address said his government has placed special focus on overall infrastructural development of the nation.
“In Pragati meetings, I have personally reviewed nearly 175 projects worth more than Rs 8 lakh crore and resolved bottlenecks,” he said, referring to his ambitious multi-purpose and multi-modal platform PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation).
Modi said his government was also focussing on “next generation infrastructure which includes logistics, digital and gas.” The prime minister, who began his speech in Malayalam, said he was happy to be part of the inauguration of the project.
He said Kochi was selected as a Smart City in January 2016. “I hope it will do even better in the days to come,” he said.
“Kochi, the queen of the Arabian Sea, was once an important spice trading centre. Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala, the prime minister said.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is a 50-50 joint venture of the Centre and the state government.
The Centre has so far released over Rs 2,000 crore for the project. The coaches reflected ‘Make in India’ vision. –