Kochi: Kochi Metro's Thykoodam-Pettah stretch was inaugurated on Monday.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister Hardip Singh Puri flagged-off the first Kochi Metro train from Pettah in an online function.
The function began at 12 noon. The first train commenced service from Pettah at 12:30pm. With the inauguration of the 1.15 km stretch, the first phase of Kochi Metro was completed.
In his address, Puri said that the state government's proposal for Phase-2 of Kochi Metro is under active consideration of the Central government and "it is our expectation that we will be able to have the approval for this conveyed very soon."
The Union Minister noted that with the completion of fresh stretch, Kochi Metro will be able to increase the ridership to over one lakh per day.
Stating that the commencement of work on the Kochi Metro project marked an important milestone in the development of Greater Cochin region, Vijayan in his inaugural address, said with the inauguration of 1.33 km new stretch, the Metro here would be declaring completion of its Phase 1 covering a total length of 25.2 km.
He said the state government has accorded administrative sanction for the Metro service from Pettah to Tripunithura which consists of 3.2 km with three more stations on an amount of Rs 1,066 crore and works are going on in full swing.
The Chief Minister expressed hope that the Central government will accord sanction for the proposal for Phase 2 of the project comprising an extension of 11.2 km of the existing Metro line of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to Infopark via Kakkanad with 11 stations.
Though the construction was completed in May, the inauguration got delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The total number of Metro stations will be 22 now. The Metro construction from Pettah to S N Junction in Thrippunithura is progressing.
The Metro services that were suspended due to COVID-19 have also been resumed from Monday.
The Kochi Metro on Monday resumed services after being suspended for over five months due to the lockdown.
The services between Thykoodam and Aluva were resumed at 7 am, adhering to COVID-19 protocol, a Kochi Metro spokesman said.
He said trains will run from 7 am to 9 pm with 10 minute breaks.
Officials said measures are in place to frequently disinfect all the areas in the stations where the passengers are likely to touch and passengers are under surveillance to ensure that they follow social distancing norms.
In a bid to reduce contact, cashless transactions are encouraged and for this, use of Kochi One card is promoted.
Kochi Metro launched its first service from Aluva to Palarivattom in June 2017 and the stretch up to the Maharaja's College Ground was commissioned in October in the same year.
The stretch from Maharaja's College junction to Thykoodam was inaugurated in September last year.