New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first-ever driverless train operations on Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line on Monday, 28th December through a video conference. The National Common Mobility Card was also expanded to the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, which was started in Ahmedabad last year. Union Minister Hardeep Puri and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were present on the occasion, according to a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister termed Monday’s event as an attempt to make urban development future-ready. He said preparing the country for future needs is an important responsibility of governance. He lamented the fact that a few decades ago when the demand for urbanisation was felt, there was not much attention given to the needs of the future, half-hearted work was done, and confusion persisted. He said unlike this, modern thinking says that urbanisation should not be seen as a challenge but used as an opportunity to build better infrastructure in the country, an opportunity through which ease of living can be enhanced. He said this difference of thinking is seen now in every dimension of urbanisation. He added that in 2014, only 5 cities had the metro rail, and today, metro rail is available in 18 cities. By the year 2025, the service will expand to more than 25 cities, he said.
In 2014, only 248 km of metro lines were operational in the country and today it is about three times, more than 700 kilometres, observed PM Modi, adding that by the year 2025, work is on to expand it to 1,700 km. He stressed that these are not just figures, but that they are proof of ease of living in the lives of crores of Indians, saying that these are not just infrastructures made of brick and stone, concrete, and iron, but are evidence of the fulfilment of the aspirations of the citizens of the country, the middle class of the country.
The Prime Minister remarked that the government formulated the metro policy for the first time and implemented it with an all-round strategy. Emphasis was on working according to local demand, promoting local standards, Make in India expansion, and use of modern technology, he said, adding that it was noted that the expansion of the metro and modern modes of transport should be used according to the needs of the people of the city and the professional lifestyle there. He said this is the reason work is being done on different types of metro rail in different cities.
The Prime Minister listed different types of metro rail on which work is being carried out. On the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) between Delhi and Meerut, the Prime Minister said it will reduce the distance of Delhi and Meerut to less than an hour. He said in cities where passenger numbers are less, work is being done on the Metro Lite version, saying this version would be constructed at 40 percent the cost of a normal metro. He further added that Metro Neo is being worked in cities where the ridership is less, stating that it would be built at 25 percent the cost of a normal metro. Similarly, water metro would be an out of the box thinking, remarked PM Modi, adding that for cities where there are large water bodies, the water metro is now being worked on. This will provide last mile connectivity to the people near the islands, he said.
The Prime Minister said the metro today is no longer just a medium of public transport but also a great way to reduce pollution, adding that thousands of vehicles have been reduced from the road due to the metro network, which used to cause pollution and traffic jams.
The Prime Minister said for the expansion of metro services, ‘Make in India’ is important. ‘Make in India’ reduces costs, saves foreign exchange, and gives more employment to people in the country itself, he said, adding that that standardisation of rolling stock has reduced the cost of every coach from 12 crores to 8 crores now. Today, said PM Modi, four big companies are manufacturing metro coaches in the country and dozens of companies are engaged in the manufacture of metro components, adding that this is helping ‘Make in India’ as well as the campaign for self-reliant India, as per the press statement of the PMO.
Prime Minister Modi said with the achievement of Metro Rail without a driver, India has joined the select countries of the world where such facilities are available. He said a braking system in which 50 percent of the energy goes back into the grid when the brakes are applied are being used. Today, 130 MW of solar power is being used in metro rail, which will be increased to 600 MW, he stated.
Talking about the Common Mobility Card, the Prime Minister said providing the same standards and facilities for modernisation is very important, adding that the Card at the national level is a major step in this direction. This one card will give integrated access to the commuters wherever they travel, whichever public transport they take, he remarked.
Taking the example of the Common Mobility Card, Prime Minister Modi dwelled on the process of consolidating all the systems, saying that through such consolidation of systems, the strength of the country is being harnessed in a more coordinated and efficient way. “Like ‘One Nation, One Mobility Card’, our government has done many things in the past years to integrate the systems of the country,” he said.
He also said that ‘One Nation, One FasTag’ has made travel seamless on highways across the country, adding that this has saved commuters from traffic jams and delays. ‘One Nation, One Tax’ i.e. GST has ended the complications in the tax system and has brought uniformity in the indirect tax system, he proclaimed, and said ‘One Nation, One Power Grid’ is ensuring adequate and continuous power availability in every part of the country, adding that power loss is reduced.
With ‘One Nation, One Gas Grid’, seamless gas connectivity is being ensured of the parts where gas-based life and economy used to be a dream earlie, the Prime Minister said, moving on to speak about ‘One Nation, One Health Insurance’ Scheme i.e. Ayushman Bharat, through which he said millions of people from India are taking advantage anywhere in the country. Citizens moving from one place to another have got freedom from the trouble of making new ration cards through ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’, said Prime Minister Modi, concluding that, similarly, the country is moving in the direction of ‘One Nation, One Agriculture Market’ due to the new agricultural reforms and arrangements like e-NAM.
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