A new era in public transport began in the Pink City on Wednesday when Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot flagged off the trial run of the Jaipur Metro at the newly constructed Mansarovar station here. The trial run took place on a 2.4 km track between Mansarovar and Shyam Nagar via New Atish Market and Vivek Vihar stations.

Impressed by the move towards making Jaipur a world class city, Mr. Gehlot wrote in the visitors’ book: “We are proud that the Metro has been brought on track in two years and nine months, as per the schedule. Congratulations to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation for this achievement.”

The Metro train will start running between Mansarovar on the outskirts of Jaipur, and Chandpole in the Walled City, in the first phase, later this year or early next year. “The Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (JMRC) will ensure full security of passengers on the route,” Mr. Gehlot told media persons on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony.

Mr. Gehlot refuted the Opposition party, the BJP’s allegation that the State Government was rushing through the Metro project because of the model code of conduct to be enforced before the upcoming State Assembly elections. “Metro train has got nothing to do with polls. The new and fast public transport facility will provide immense benefits to the residents of Jaipur. We have just witnessed a smooth trial run [of the train],” he said.

After boarding the train by inserting a token in the automatic fare collection system, Mr. Gehlot saw its special features such as passenger information system, display board, audio system, seating arrangements, elevated track and power supply mechanism.

JMRC Chairman-cum-Managing Director N. C. Goyal said Rs.1,500 crore of the Rs.3,149 crore sanctioned for the first phase had been spent so far, while the Union Government had sanctioned an additional assistance of Rs.630 crore to the Corporation. The trial run was conducted at a speed of 40-45 km per hour.

Among others, State Urban Development Minister Shanti Dhariwal, Education Minister Braj Kishore Sharma, Jaipur MP Mahesh Joshi and Jaipur Mayor Jyoti Khandelwal were present on the occasion.