Modi takes ride on new metro line

PTIPrime Minister Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister of Yogi Adityanath and other dignitaries take the Metro from Botanical Garden Station to Okhla Bird Sanctuary yesterday.

NEW DELHI India’s capital, New Delhi, launched a metro train with driverless technology yesterday, although officials said it would operate with a driver for at least a year or two.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took an inaugural ride on a short section of the 12.6-kilometre Magenta Line that connects the southern part of New Delhi with the satellite city of Noida, an IT hub across the Yamuna river.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corp. has said the highly automated train will run initially with a driver but could become driverless in the future.

One of the new trains crashed through a wall in a depot last week, sparking concern about the automation technology. However, Delhi Metro said human error was the cause, with workers forgetting to re-engage the brakes after they had been disengaged for maintenance.

The Magenta Line is the latest addition to the Delhi Metro system, which opened 15 years ago and covers more than 200 kilometres. It has made commuting to work and school much easier for many Delhi residents, although road congestion and air pollution remain serious problems.

Modi advocated the use of public transport while launching the mode of section of the metro to save on fuel and costs associated with the import of petroleum, saying travelling on a metro train should be a “prestige issue”.

He said governments spend a lot of money while creating infrastructure but when something is ready it benefits the generations to come.

Local goods

Addressing a public meeting, Modi said by 2022, when India celebrates 75 years of Independence, he wants to cut down on imported petroleum products.

He said a multi-modal transportation system will ensure that use of fuel is cut down, which will help the common man save money and also be good for the environment.

On December 24, 2002, the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a ride on the metro, Modi recalled. “It was a historic moment. Since then, the Metro network in NCR [National Capital Region] has expanded considerably,” he said.

We live in an era in which connectivity is all important, the prime minister said.

“Without connectivity, life comes to a standstill. This Metro. is not only for the present but also for future generations,” he said.

Modi flagged off the new metro, decked with marigold flowers, from Noida and took a ride on the train to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary station.

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