Smriti Kak Ramachandran
NEW DELHI: For the first time, the Delhi Metro crossed the city limits to enter Noida in Uttar Pradesh next door on Thursday for regular operations starting Friday.
Union Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit flagged off the train from the Delhi end on its historic 13.1-km journey from Yamuna Bank to Noida City Centre while UP Chief Minister Mayawati flagged off the first train from the Noida end.
The stretch, being thrown open to the public at 6 a.m. on Friday, will cover ten stations and bring down commuting time between Delhi and Noida considerably.
Speaking after the flag-off ceremony, Mr. Reddy said the issue of extension of the Delhi Metro to other areas in the National Capital Region was discussed at a meeting of the NCR Planning Board on Wednesday. “There are demands from Faridabad, from Ghaziabad and other places. It is my ambition that the metro should be provided on as many commercially viable routes as possible,” he added.
Describing the metro as “the greatest achievement of India in recent years”, Mr. Reddy said the endeavour is to have a metro in all cities with a two billion-plus population.
“This here is a historic line. I am very happy and proud to be associated with this occasion that marks the extension of the legendary Delhi Metro into the NCR,” he said.
Echoing his sentiment, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the metro’s journey into Noida was a historic occasion. Referring to the ongoing construction and infrastructure up-gradation, she said: “By the time of the Commonwealth Games in October 2010, all that you see under construction now will be smoothened out and ready.”
The DMRC estimates that once the Noida corridor opens on Friday, 53,000 passengers will be added to its daily commuters by 2011. Initially the frequency of the trains from Noida to Delhi will be 12 minutes, to be reduced gradually to eight minutes.
The commuting time between Noida City Centre and Connaught Place is expected to be 30 minutes, while it will take an hour more to reach Dwarka Sector 9.