The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded 9.95 km-long Washermanpet Metro-AG-DMS section of Chennai Metro Phase – I was inaugurated recently. According to a statement from JICA today, with the opening of this stretch, the 45 km stretch of Phase-I of Chennai Metro Project is now open to public. The newly opened stretch consists of seven underground stations namely: Washermanpet Metro, Mannadi, High Court, Central Metro, Government Estate, LIC and Thousand Lights.
The objective of the Project is to mitigate traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, minimize road accidents and make travel smoother for the people of Chennai. This stretch is an extension of the currently operational AG-DMS to airport route. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office said, "The newly inaugurated stretch will improve mobility to prominent areas of Chennai, directly connecting its northern and southern parts. With this stretch getting operational, people will be able to reach the airport from northern part of Chennai in 45 minutes.
The inauguration of this stretch will mark the successful completion of Phase- 1 of the Chennai Metro and will pave way for the Phase- 2 of the Project. Chennai Metro is easing mobility in the mega-city by bringing about a transformational modal shift. Improving citizens’ ease of living has been JICA’s enduring effort and Chennai Metro exemplifies this will." Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) is the Executing Agency of the Project. Chennai Central Metro Station, spread across 388 metres, is one of the main interlocking stations for both corridor 1 and 2 in Phase-I of Chennai Metro Rail Project.
Situated under the Periyar Salai (High Road) in front of Chennai Central Railway Station, this important station has five main entrances and four subway entrances that connect Central Railway Station, Moore Market Complex and Park Station to allow smooth flow of passengers. Since 2008, JICA has extended 259,114 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 17,000 crore) as concessional ODA loans over five tranches for Phase I and one tranche for Phase 2 of Chennai Metro Project to help develop around 160.8 km metro rail system.
The overall loan amount provided by JICA for metro projects in India (including Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Ahmedabad Metro's) exceeds 1.3 trillion Japanese Yen (approximately INR 87,000 crore).