After a long wait of eight years, the metro rail has finally taken off in Chennai. The city has joined Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur and Bengaluru on the list of Indian cities to have metro connectivity. The total project cost of the Chennai metro network is estimated to be ₹14,600 crore, of which the Centre and the state governments have chipped in 30% each, with the remaining sourced from a loan from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency. The present AIADMK government had allocated ₹9,609 crore towards the project, while the previous DMK government spent ₹1.143 crore. For the 10-km stretch connecting seven stations, the fare ranges between ₹10 and ₹40 for normal class and ₹20 and ₹80 for the special class. While some passengers are grumbling about paying the steep fares, metro rail officials have stated that the fares are comparable to other metros and are reasonable given the comfort and speed the metro provides. To woo passengers, the metro authority is giving out personalised travel cards and a 10% discount on regular fares to begin with. But with the three opposition parties DMK, PMK and Congress all clamouring for a cut, it remains to be seen if chief minister J Jayalalithaa will concede ground or stay firm.
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