Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Wednesday expressed the hope that the underground section of the Chennai Metro Rail project will become operational this year.Inaugurating passenger services on the 8.6-km second elevated corridor of the Chennai Metro Rail between Chennai Airport and Little Mount stations, the Chief Minister said, "Like other residents of the city, I also look forward to the commencement of operations of the underground section of the Metro Rail, which I am confident will happen before the end of 2016."She said passenger operations on the 1.28-km stretch from Alandur to St. Thomas Mount here will also be started soon after obtaining clearance from the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety."With that, the entire 20-km elevated section of the Chennai Metro Rail project would become operational," Jayalalithaa said.
Thanking the Japanese government for its support to the development programmes in Tamil Nadu, she hoped that the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) will continue its support for the Metro Rail project extension, desalination project near here and the Ring Road project."Over the years, JICA has provided 383,314 million Yen as Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans for all-round development in Tamil Nadu," JICA said in a statement.The ODA loan assistance includes various projects in the state, like Tamil Nadu Investment Promotion Programme (TNIPP), Tamil Nadu Urban Healthcare Project, Tamil Nadu Transmission System Improvement Project, Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation & Greening Project, Hogenakkal Water Supply & Fluorosis Mitigation Project, Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Project and others.According to JICA, it has also facilitated technical cooperation for improvement of Chennai Port operations and Master Plan study of Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, among others, and extended grant-in-aid for enhancement of facilities at the Institute of Child Health & Hospital for Children (ICH) in Chennai. ICH is expected to be opened in the near future.