Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Wednesday expressed the hope that the underground section of the Chennai Metro Rail project will soon become operational by the end of this year.Inaugurating passenger services on the 8.6-km, the 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 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.
M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister of Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, said one four-car Metro rake per trip is expected to remove 16 buses/300 cars/600 two-wheelers from road.According to him, the central government has so far released around Rs 10,000 crore for the Chennai Metro Phase I project and the service is expected to carry 7.75 lakh passengers per day.With today's inauguration, around 324 km of Metro Rail will be operational in the country in the cities of Delhi and national capital region (NCR), Gurgaon, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Mumbai, he said.Around 520 km is presently under construction in various cities, including Delhi and NCR, Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Lucknow while around 553 km is under consideration, he added.