Part 1-The Purple & Green Revolution
When aboard Bengaluru’s new metropolitan icon, Namma Metro, remember that you are one among around 3,15,000 passengers, every day on an average, benefitting from a breakthrough that has been a game changer as far as connectivity, or lack of it, in Bengaluru City, is concerned. Yes, arguably you would feel one of the privileged few, only if you knew the history of the city dwellers’ clamor for a public transport system in place, on the lines of Mumbai’s local trains!
Like a genie from the bottle, the Mass Rapid Transport System Project Report finally escaped and made it to the round tables in the drawing rooms of our bureaucratic circles. Few know and would proclaim with immense pride that it was one of the visions Sandalwood’s legendary superstar–cum- activist Shankar Nag nurtured for long, the blueprint of which lied snugly in the confines of his suitcase along with such similar plans he held dear to his chest!
Both the State as well as the Central Governments chipped in their resources to see to it that the Metro is finally flagged off.
The mammoth of a project that hit several hits and misses and missed many a deadline on its way, is today helping millions meet their deadlines! The irony is that the statues of some statesmen, who envisioned a stronger India, came in the way of laying metro’s track. The right-thinking citizens of Bengaluru heaved a sigh of relief when the activists who were against the shifting of a statue, even temporarily, relented finally and gave their nod.
With all the hurdles removed, literally, there was light at the end of the tunnel (mammoth boring machines used to dig tunnels for the underground metro were nick-named as Helen, Margarita, Kaveri, Krishna, and the Godavari)!
The historic day arrived 20th October 2011, in the lives of all–hopes-lost-denizens of Bengaluru! Named as Namma (our in Kannada) Metro, sleek coaches that hit the tracks for laying of which thousands toiled hard, made the mundane job of daily commute as colorful, with purple and green lines, introduced one by one in that order.
Among the first-timers, most passengers were the ones who just boarded the metro out of amusement, just like in Disneyland etc. I am so certain about this since myself and my family was among the thousands who wanted to experience the metro journey! We went up to Byppanahalli from MG Road and found it hassle-free, smooth and relaxing.
It’s not any different for the lakhs of commuters benefitting from the ‘Purple & Green Revolution’ that has literally redrawn the landscapes of Bengaluru’s public transport and those whose lives were at the mercy of City Bus, called BMTC, ruefully so! To be frank, the first thing I exclaimed post our Metro escapade was ‘Thank God! There are no conductors inside the compartments of Namma Metro’!
Mere connectivity is not all that’s there to Namma Metro. The cultural transformation Namma Metro has brought in has been quite revolutionary!
The moment you enter any Metro platform you start getting a feel that Metro has been a pre-cursor to the Swachchta Bharat Abhiyaan. The platform, the passages the compartments are too clean to be Indian!