Nagpur, March 7 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated a 13.5 km stretch under phase I of the Metro Rail in Nagpur, making it the second city in Maharashtra after Mumbai to get a Metro Rail.
With 65 per cent electricity generated through solar energy, the Nagpur Metro is being hailed as the "greenest Metro" so far.
Terming the launch as a "historic occasion", Modi said Metro Rail projects were coming up in Pune and Thane as well.
"I feel more privileged as I had laid the foundation stone for this Metro Rail in 2014.
Now I am happy to see the dream of the people of Nagpur fulfilled," Modi said, inaugurating the project via video conference.
Nagpur is ranked among the fastest growing cities in the world.
With the population of the city projected to double by 2050, it was imperative to provide it with 21st century infrastructure, and the Metro Rail is one step in that direction, he said.
"It will change the face of travel in this entire region, in all seasons, increase efficiency, safety and comfort besides reducing pollution and congestion.
"After the entire Metro Rail project is completed, the people of Nagpur can use it instead of their own vehicles and reduce road traffic," Modi said.
The Prime Minister said when the NDA government assumed power in 2014, the Metro Rail network in the country spanned only 250 kms.
"In the past five years, it has grown to 650 kms, besides work is in full swing on another 800 kms in different cities," he added.
He said Metro Rail can not only revolutionise the transport sector and improve all-round mobility, but also help expand cities, change the ecosystem of the surrounding regions and generate jobs, thereby helping the overall development of that region.
Maharashtra Metro Managing Director Brijesh Dixit said that the Nagpur Metro's 13.5 km route stretching between Khapri and Sitabuldi, has five stations and will be opened to the public from Friday.
He also announced that all rides on the new Metro will be free on the first day.