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Relief for harried Mumbai as Metro finally rolls out

Monday, 09 June 2014 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai

Four months after the introduction of India’s first monorail train service, trains rolled out on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor of the Mumbai Metro, thus becoming the third mode of railway transport and providing much-needed relief to lakhs of harried commuters in a city that is bursting at the seams.

A day after he threatened to boycott the inaugural function of the Mumbai Metro over the fare hike issue, Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan made amends and launched the Metro services on the crucial 11.4 km railway corridor, a vital stretch that connects Versova in the western suburbs with Ghatkopar in the eastern suburbs.

The Metro network, which provides a first-ever rail link to the Mumbai airport, promises to cut down the commute time from the current 90 minutes by road transport to just 21 minutes.

After a Ganesh puja, the Chief Minister boarded the motor person’s cabin of a new Metro train at the newly constructed Versova railway station and flagged off the train at 10.15 am.

Apart from the CM, Reliance Energy Limited (REL) chairman Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani were present inside the motor person’s cabin, as lady motor person Rupali Chavan steered the new train-decorated with flowers — on its inaugural journey from Versova to Ghatkopar.

Prominent among others present at the Metro launch were: Maharashtra’s Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Mumbai’s Guardian Minister Jayant Patil, city BJP MPs Kirit Somaiya, Gopal Shetty, Poonam Mahajan and MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan.

After the inaugural journey, the commercial operations began later in the afternoon. However, the trains were “20 to 25” minutes behind the schedule for better part of the first day of the operation. The Metro officials attributed the delay to “some technical glitch”.

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