India’s first underwater metro completes its maiden voyage
(CNN) – Flowers, coconuts and a round of applause were part of the festivities following the inaugural test run of India’s first underwater metro tunnel on Wednesday.
Set to open to the public in November, the new Kolkata Metro line runs under the Hooghly River in the north-east of the city, 32 meters underwater.
“This is a historic moment for the metro,” Kosik Mitra, Kolkata Metro’s head of public relations, said in a statement.
“It is a revolutionary step to provide a modern transportation system to the people of Kolkata and the surrounding areas,” he added.
The line will connect the soon-to-open Howrah Medan MRT station with the existing Esplanade station on the opposite bank of the river, traveling 520 meters in just 45 seconds. Once opened, Howrah Maidan will be the deepest metro station in India.
To bless the new tunnel and train, officials performed pujas, or Hindu religious rituals, for good luck, after the train successfully reached Howrah Maidan station.
Bright orange saffrons were strewn about the conductor’s cabin inside the train, and a worker smashed a coconut to applause from fellow workers.
The full length of the metro line that will pass through Hawra Maidan will be 4.8 km.
Calcutta was the first city in India to have a metro.
Infrastructure is a major national initiative led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier this year, the country celebrated the opening of the first section of a new eight-lane highway connecting the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai. The completed first section connects the capital with the city of Lalsote in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, which is a popular destination among tourists.
In addition, the MV Ganga Vilas left Varanasi in January to navigate waterways like the Ganges in a journey of around 3,200 kilometers and 51 days, making it the longest river cruise in the world.