India’s busiest metro will finally have a functioning metro rail service — even though its launch may be marred by political mudslinging. At 1 pm today, the 11.04-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) metro rail corridor will be thrown open to the public and for the next 30 days, commuters will be able to travel the entire distance by paying just Rs 10 — a month-long promotional rate floated by the metro rail authorities.

Also read: Mumbai Metro's VAG line to start from Sunday morning

The metro
The metro will be operational from 5.30 am till midnight

The state government however, is not happy. Speaking to the media on Saturday Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, “The metro line should be opened only if the ticket rates are as per the original agreement. The Government of Maharashtra has already filed a petition on this issue in the High Court.” Later in the evening an MMRDA spokesperson confirmed that the CM would flag off the inaugural train at 10.40 am from Ghatkopar metro station.

Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro
For the first month after its launch today, Mumbaikars can enjoy the commute on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro route for just Rs 10. Pics/Nimesh Dave

However, an invitation sent by the MMOPL stated that the inauguration would take place at 9.30 am at Versova metro station — adding to the confusion. Earlier speaking to the media, MMOPL CEO Abhay Mishra said the inauguration will go ahead as planned. “The beginning of the commercial operation of Mumbai Metro is a historical moment for the city. These services will change the way Mumbaikars commute,” Mishra said.

Also read: Mumbai Metro's Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line likely to start in a week's time

The trains will be operational from 5.30 am till midnight. There will be a train every four minutes during peak hours and every eight minutes during non-peak hours.

Fare-unfair?
The MMRDA and state government want ticket rates to be between Rs 9 and Rs 13 but the Union government has allowed Reliance Infrastructure-promoted Mumbai Metro to decide its own fare structure. This will allow R-Infra to fix the fares at higher rate than the one notified by the state government. “It was mentioned in the agreement that metro rail fares should be 1.5 times higher than BEST bus fares. We have stuck to the agreement,” said Debashish Mohanty, director MMOPL.