It’s time for Lucknow’s metro-morphosis.
Come December 1 and the city would get the first glimpse of the service that would revolutionise the way Lucknowites would commute in 2017. After Gomti Riverfront Development and Agra-Lucknow Expressway, preparations are underway on war-footing to flag off the first train set of Lucknow Metro Rail for a trial run.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav will inaugurate the service.
To ensure a smooth roll-out, top Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) bosses are closely monitoring the test runs of the newly-acquired gleaming silver and red-ribbon coaches on the 700-metre track inside its state-of-the-art Transport Nagar Metro Depot.
The entire area has been cordoned off to keep prying camera persons from capturing the ongoing test runs.
On the D-day, the service would have its first run on the elevated priority section from Transport Nagar to Charbagh with chief minister on board.
LMRC officials, however, are tight-lipped on the matter.
“The CM would be commissioning the trial run around 11am from the test-tracks at the depot. A final decision on whether or not to run the service on the elevated priority section outside the depot would be taken around November 28,” said a senior official associated with the project requesting anonymity.
Lucknowites would not be able to avail the service before March 2017.
“We have set March 26, 2017 as our revenue operations deadline, in other words the commencement of service for the people,” said another LMRC officer.
Civil work on the Rs 1069 crore of the Phase 1A of the project called priority section began on September 27, 2014. “We have completed the work in 26 months, which is a record for any metro rail project in the country,” claimed an LMRC official.
When pointed out that work on Agra-Lucknow Expressway was completed in 22 just months, the official said, unlike metro rail there was no foreign funding for the expressway.
“Getting necessary clearances is not easy as metro rail projects are bank rolled by international lending institutions, which follow a very strict due- diligence process before they sanction the loan,” the official pointed out. But the wait, he said, would be worth it.
“After all metro rail is not merely about providing a fast, efficient and modern mode of transport. It’s a catalyst for major lifestyle change,” he said.