Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath on Tuesday jointly flagged off the maiden commercial run of the Lucknow Metro rail service, touted as one of the fastest projects to be completed in India.
Ground work for beginning commercial operations along the 8.5-km long priority section began three years ago under the stewardship of the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) government. The project was considered to be one of the pet projects of the former CM.
Interestingly, the inaugural run of the service has also become a bone of contention for the two opposed camps supporting their respective leaders.
Earlier on Tuesday, a full-page advertisement congratulating the SP for the launch of Lucknow metro surfaced on the pages of a leading English daily. As a result of this, several criticisms surfaced on the social media platform Twitter.
On Monday, Akhilesh took potshots at the Adityanath government for taking the entire credit for Lucknow Metro.
इंजन तो पहले ही चल दिया था...डिब्बे तो पीछे आने ही थे. pic.twitter.com/QUjWbqRo1p— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) September 4, 2017
Several Opposition leaders followed suit with Congress party's Rajeev Shukla stating that the former CM should have been invited for the inauguration ceremony.
आज लखनऊ मेट्रो का innaguration है कम से कम अखिलेश यादव को भी function में बुला लेते जिसने सचमुच इसे बनाया है@yadavakhilesh— Rajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) September 5, 2017
Meanwhile, the Lucknow Police on Tuesday took a few SP workers in preventive custody over an intelligence input regarding their plans to stage a protest at the metro inauguration venue.
In his address, Yogi said his government was working towards launching similar metro rail services in Varanasi, Kanpur, Agra, Meerut, Moradabad, Jhansi, Allahabad and Gorakhpur as well. He informed that the UP government was keen to avail of the services of the ‘Metro Man’- E Sridharan, who was advisor to Lucknow Metro rail project.
Commuters will be able to avail themselves of service until tomorrow.
Previously, a trial run of the Lucknow Metro was conducted last year in November- this was inaugurated by the then chief minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav. Commercial operations, it was said, would begin by March 26, 2017. SP was, however, defeated during the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections held earlier this year.
Assuming office a week before the March deadline, the project got delayed under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government due to pending approvals and clearances.
On March 30, the Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO) certified the Lucknow Metro for a safe run based on the successful completion of the oscillation trials. A speed limit of up to 80 kilometres per hour (kmph) was fixed for the run.
Later on June 8, the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) secured technical clearance from the ministry of railways and on August 14, the project got the nod for commercial operations by the commissioner of metro railway safety (CMRS).
Lucknow Metro along with Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Lucknow IT City is considered to be CM Adityanath’s pet projects that are marketed as templates of his pro-development agenda.
In the first phase of construction, the Lucknow Metro would operate in an 8.5-km-long network between Lucknow airport and the Charbagh railway station. This section is part of the 23-km-long North-South corridor having 21 stations. At the initial phase, the project has incurred a cost of around Rs 6,800 crore.
Authorities had previously said that Lucknow Metro, in its early stages, would operate four trains on the priority route with each train having a standing capacity of 1,000 passengers, besides accommodating 186 others who can choose to sit and travel.