Bengaluru: Bengaluru on Saturday became the second city after Delhi to have a full-fledged Metro network in all the four directions, with President Pranab Mukherjee dedicating the last section of the first phase to the nation.
The 42.3-km-long project, which started in 2008, has been built at a cost of about Rs 13,845 crore, of which Rs 300 crore was raised by floating bonds, which is a first in the Metro history of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee said: "The rapid economic growth of Bengaluru has brought prosperity to the state, but increasing congestion on roads, worsening air quality and related time and health issues were making the city economically inefficient."
Mukherjee also said that India was late by several decades in adopting the Metro as a viable mode of public transport.
"The first Metro started in 1863. By early 20th century, almost entire Europe, North America and countries in South America had Metro rail networks in their large cities.
"Hesitant primarily because of economic considerations and doubts about cost benefit ratios, we started first Metro network in Kolkata in 1984," Mukherjee said.
Phase-2 of the Metro project is already under implementation and would add another 72 km to the existing 42 km of Phase-1.
"The network, when completed, will reduce traffic congestion and be able to carry more than 15 lakh passengers per day," the President said.
Karnataka Governor Vaju Bhai Wala, Chief Minister Siddhramiah, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar were among others present on the occasion.