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New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 28, 2020, inaugurated India’s first-ever driverless train operations on Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line through a video conference. The National Common Mobility Card was also expanded on December 28, 2020, to the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, which was started in Ahmedabad last year. Union Minister Hardeep Puri and Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister termed today’s event as an attempt to make urban development future ready. He said preparing the country for future needs is an important responsibility of governance. He lamented the fact that a few decades ago, when the demand of urbanisation was felt, there was not much attention given to the needs of the future, half-hearted work was done and confusion persisted.

He said this difference of thinking is seen now in every dimension of urbanisation. He added that in 2014, only 5 cities had metro rail and today, metro rail is available in 18 cities. By 2025, we are going to expand it to more than 25 cities. In 2014, only 248 km of metro lines were operational in the country and today it is about three times, more than 700 km. By the year 2025, we are trying to expand it to 1,700 km, PM Modi said, according to a PIB releae. He stressed that these are not just figures, they are proof of ease of living in the lives of crores of Indians.

The Prime Minister remarked that the government formulated the metro policy for the first time and implemented it with an all-round strategy. Emphasis was on working according to local demand, promoting local standards, Make in India expansion, and use of modern technology.

The Prime Minister listed different types of metro rail on which work is being carried out. Referring to the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) between Delhi and Meerut, the Prime Minister said it will reduce the distance of Delhi and Meerut to less than an hour. He said in cities where passenger numbers are less, work is being done on the MetroLite version. MetroLite version would be constructed at 40 percent cost of normal metro.

He further added that Metro Neo is being worked in cities where the ridership is less. It would be built at the cost of 25 percent of the normal metro. Similarly, water metro would be an out of the box thinking. For cities where there are large water bodies, the water metro is now being worked on. This will provide last mile connectivity to the people near the islands. The Prime Minister said the metro today is no longer just a medium of public transport but a great way to reduce pollution.

The Prime Minister said for the expansion of metro services, Make in India is important. Make in India reduces costs, saves foreign exchange, and gives more employment to people in the country itself. He stressed that standardisation of rolling stock has reduced the cost of every coach from Rs 12 crore to Rs 8 crore now. Today, four big companies are manufacturing metro coaches in the country and dozens of companies are engaged in the manufacture of metro components.

The Prime Minister said with the achievement of Metro Rail without a driver, our country has joined the select countries of the world where such facilities are available. He said a braking system in which 50 percent of the energy goes back into the grid when the brakes are applied are being used. Today 130 MW of solar power is being used in metro rail, which will be increased to 600 MW.

Talking about the Common Mobility Card, the Prime Minister said that  providing the same standards and facilities for modernisation is very important. The Common Mobility Card at the national level is a major step in this direction. This one card will give integrated access to the commuters wherever they travel, whichever public transport they take.