Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the first service of Lucknow Metro on Tuesday at the Transport Nagar railway station.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, senior Ministers of the state cabinet, local legislators and Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Hardeep Puri were present on the occasion along with Principal Advisor to the project E. Sreedharan.
The 8.5 km stretch of the rapid transport Lucknow Metro system -- from Transport Nagar to Charbagh railway station -- will be open for public from Wednesday.
Adityanath, in his address on the occasion, lauded the team behind the project for its early completion and said the metro would ease traffic congestion in the state capital.
He assured that the work on other phases of the Lucknow Metro project would be completed at the earliest. Adityanath also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for facilitating a loan from the European Investment Bank for the project. He said the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for similar projects in many other cities have been submitted to the Union government, adding that metro rail services will be soon available to the residents of Kanpur, Varanasi and Jhansi besides other places.
The Chief Minister did not miss the chance to take a dig at his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav, who started the project and has been taunting the Bhartiya Janata Party government for the last few days over the inauguration.
He said earlier some people rushed through the projects' inauguration but on Tuesday as he spoke, the event looked "bhara-bhara" (complete and full) as there was maximum participation. On Monday, some workers of the Samajwadi Party (SP) had organised a mock inauguration of the Lucknow Metro and distributed sweets, crediting Akhilesh Yadav for the "gift to Lucknow".
Yadav was invited but he chose not to turn up at the event and instead took to Twitter to express his views on the project which he conceived but was delivered by the BJP government. Lucknow Metro project has been divided into two corridors -- North-South and East-West.
The first phase of the project is set to cost the exchequer Rs 6,928 crore and the second corridor Rs 5,494 crore.
In the stretch that was inaugurated on Tuesday, there are ten stations with a stoppage of 30 seconds at each station. The train is designed to run at a speed of 80 kmph and would be available for commuters between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. initially. There is a time gap of seven minutes between two trains which would be reduced to 4.5 minutes later, a Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) official told IANS.
The project is being financed under 50:50 Joint Venture model with equity participations from the Central government and the state government.
Apart from this, about 53 per cent of the project cost -- Rs 3,502 crore -- is being funded externally by way of loan -- through foreign debt -- from the European Investment Bank. The completion cost (including central taxes) of Part-1A for North-South corridor is Rs 6,880 crore as per the revised DPR submitted to the Ministry of Urban Development in October 2013.
The FIRR (Financial Internal Rate Return) for the project is 8.12 per cent while the EIRR (Economic Internal Rate Return) is 19.43 per cent, officials said.
"The 8.5 km of Metro 'Priority Corridor' between Transport Nagar and Charbagh stretch has been executed in just over two years which is a record in itself," Managing Director of LMRC, Kumar Keshav, told IANS. "No other metro project has been able to achieve this feat in the past."
Even contemporary metro projects in the country have not been able to match LMRC's speed in project execution within such a stiff target date and sanctioned budget, Keshav added.
Lucknow Metro has also taken several energy conservation measures such as use of regenerative braking in the trains which will result in saving of 30 to 35 per cent traction energy thereby resulting in reduction in emission of greenhouse gases, an official said.
Use of 1 per cent criteria for underground stations in the AC system for the stations, using Variable Voltage Variable Frequency drive for all lifts and escalators, provision of LED lights at stations, use of energy efficient equipment for Environment Control System and Tunnel Ventilation System for the underground section are other such measures, the official added.
Many solar power initiatives have also been taken in the project. The LMRC has planned to use 1.5 MW - 2 MW of electricity from the roof mounted solar photo voltaic cells of train stabling and inspection line sheds under RESCO model.
LMRC has implemented green construction practices at its project site like wheel washing of vehicles leaving its site, tree transplantation, recycling of curing water, regular cleaning and maintaining aesthetically pleasing barricades at construction site, among others. "Because of all these novel measures, Lucknow Metro will be able to recover the entire cost of the project in five years" an official said.