3 Sep : Gurgaon got a little closer to North and central Delhi on Friday with the opening of the Central Secretariat-Qutub Minar Metro corridor cutting the travel time between Connaught Place to the satellite city to just 50 minutes.
The 12.53-km fully underground corridor that passes through some of the densely-populated areas of south Delhi, which have been deprived of the Metro comfort till now, was integrated with the already operational Qutub Minar-HUDA City Centre line.
Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy inaugurated the corridor and flagged off the first train from the Udyog Bhawan station in the presence of Delhi Chief Sheila Dikshit and DMRC Managing Director E Sreedharan.
Ultimately, the Central Secretariat-HUDA City Centre line got integrated with the existing Jehangirpuri-Central Secretariat corridor, thus making it the longest line of the Delhi Metro spanning 45 kms and covering north, central and south Delhi with the Millennium City of Gurgaon.
The entire 45 km distance will be covered in just 80 minutes, a DMRC spokesman said, adding that this will allow people to save a lot of time and money. Dikshit thanked DMRC chief E Sreedharan for his meticulous planning and execution of the Metro projects in the national capital.
“With the opening of this line, passengers can travel from right here to Gurgaon in a single train,” she said.
Jaipal Reddy said, “With this opening DMRC has achieved one more milestone in its triumphant march”.
The opening of the line on Friday means a lot for passengers as they will be able to reach Gurgaon from Connaught Place, the city’s shopping hub, in just 50 minutes, as compared to a minimum of 90 minutes by road.
The fare between the two stations is Rs 25.
The line will also allow commuters in north and central Delhi to travel to South Delhi and Gurgaon and vice-versa.
The maximum fare on the line is Rs 29 from Jehangirpuri-HUDA City Centre.
The entire journey from Jehangirpuri to Gurgaon will be covered in 80 minutes.
With the corridor expected to attract thousands of more people, the DMRC will run 36 to 40 trains at a frequency of 5-6 minutes everyday.
This was the first time that the Metro passed through localities in south Delhi like INA Market, AIIMS, Green Park, Hauz Khas, Malviya Nagar and Saket.
There will be 34 stations on this corridor out of which 20 of the stations are underground while 14 are elevated, a DMRC spokesman said.
The opening of the line has been welcomed by many residents. Radhika, a software professional, is happy that she can get to her office and back home comfortably, without having to shell out for autos. “I usually take an auto to office from my home in Hauz Khas thinking that I will get late to work in Connaught Place. From now, I can take the Metro and it will drop me just near my office in around 30 minutes,” she says.
The story of banker Reshmi is different from that of Radhika’s. Reshmi had been driving down from her house in Gurgaon to her office in Barakhamba Road. “I have decided to say a big no to my car, at least on weekdays. I had to drive down for nearly 2 hours from my home to office. Now, I can save time and money too as Metro will drop me in front of my home in 50 minutes,” she says.
The Central Secretariat-HUDA City Centre line, built at a total cost of Rs 3,720 crore, is expected to add over 3.4 lakh people to the Metro system by 2011.
As the corridor passes through some of the popular monuments in the national capital, Metro has installed artworks and panels of monuments which are in close proximity of stations. Information about the historic monuments have been showcased in panels mounted on the walls of the stations. Some of the monuments which will be showcased are India Gate and its surroundings, Lodhi Garden, Safdarjung Tomb, Hauz Khas complex, Vijay Mandal, Sri Fort Wall and Qila Rai Pithora.
Also, the line provides connectivity to major hospitals like All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia, LNJP and G B Pant.
Passengers will be in for visual treat at the INA Metro station’s concourse area where India’s rich and diverse handlooms and handicrafts from Banarasi brocade to Kanchipuram sarees are on display.
Aiming to exhibit the centuries-old traditional art of the country during the Commonwealth Games, the Union Textiles Ministry has adopted the INA Metro station, located adjacent to Dilli Haat, where it has displayed 58 panels of popular handicrafts, handlooms, paintings and murals.
Vehicle parking for commuters on the Central Secretariat-Gurgaon line will be provided at the HUDA City Centre, IIFCO Chowk, Sikanderpur, Guru Dronacharya station, MG Road, Chattarpur, Sultanpur, Arjangarh, Ghittorni, and Green Park Metro stations.
With Friday being the first day, the DMRC had deployed over 100 Customer Facilitation Agents as a special measure at all the stations to help commuters use gates, lifts and escalators and guide them at platforms and circulating area of the station.
Besides this, special Customer Care Centres were also set up at all stations of this line for passenger convenience.
With this, the Metro just has two lines Central Secretariat to Badarpur and the Airport Express Line to be completed before the Commonwealth Games.