Kochi: The second reach of Kochi Metro from Palarivattom to Maharaja's College ground in the heart of the city was commissioned on Tuesday by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the presence of Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
Prior to the inaugural function held at the Town Hall here, Vijayan and Puri took a ride in the Metro from Palarivattom to Maharaja's College station covering five kms.
The first phase between Aluva to Palarivattom covering 13.26 km was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17, for which the foundation was laid on September 13, 2012 by then prime minister Manmohan Singh.
With the second stretch getting operational, the Kochi Metro station now covers 18 kms from Aluva to Maharaja's College station.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Puri said he wanted the state government to complete the remaining stretch expeditiously and extended full support of the Centre for it.
"With the commissioning of the five km stretch today Kochi Metro operation of metro rail in the country has come to 383 km," he said adding construction of another 520 km was in progress and in different stages.
Puri expressed confidence that within two years time, total metro rail operations in the country would touch 600 kms.
The Union Minister also said, "Metro rail projects should have professional and sound economic management to make it more viable and cost-efficient."
In his address, Vijayan sought the support and co-operation of the Centre for the completion of Kochi Metro upto Petta and from there to Tripunithura.
The Chief Minister said the extension of metro rail to Kakkanad, the hub of IT companies in the state, would also be taken up.
He also mentioned about the demand from various quarters for extending the metro rail to Nedumbassery International Airport from Aluva and said "we have to consider that also."
The proposed metro water project for Kochi city, Hill Highway, Coastal highway and National Waterways projects would be completed on a war footing, he assured.
Metro Rail project advisor E Sreedharan, State Transport Minister Thomas Chandy and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala were among those present on the occasion.