Metro inauguration fever will test BMRCl's mettle

After Sadananda's Metro trial ride with over 65 unruly party workers raised eyebrows last month, BMRCL will now make provisions to handle over 10,000 CMO invitees 
The long-awaited Metro inauguration scheduled for October 20, which promises to go down in history for the number of delays and deadlines the BMRCL failed to keep, is soon approaching. Besides making last minute arrangements to ensure that all loose ends are tied before the services are opened to the public, the BMRCL has a bigger responsibility on hand right from day one. While thousands of eager Bangaloreans have been marking their calendars for sometime now in half-hearted preparation, the chief minister's office has made a shocking revelation of its plan to invite about 10,000 people along with their families for the inauguration ceremony, and this has apparently left the BMRCL in a tizzy.

Joy Ride Anyone? CM D V Sadanada Gowda and Home Minister R Ashok
line up with BJP supporters during their travel on 'Namma Metro' train
from M G Road station to Byappanahalli station. This time, the BMRCL
are in a tizzy as they have to accomodate 10,000 invitees and their
families from the chief minister's office.  PIc/ Ramesh HS

The biggest question now however, is whether the BMRCL is ready with security arrangements and crowd management preparedness to back up a sudden change in plans, considering what happened when CM D V Sadananda Gowda took a trial run on the Metro barely a month ago.

Though Sadananda's trial ride along with about 65 of his party workers proved chaotic at best, BMRCL officials claim to be better prepared this time.

Further adding to BMRCL's woes is the long festive break, as printing and sending out invitations has become a huge task.

Launch pad
After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 'excused' himself from inaugurating the Metro services, Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath has been invited to do the honours, while Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi will be chief guest.

"Earlier the plan was to launch the services from MG Road station, but since Byappanahalli Metro Depot is much more spacious, it was decided to start off from there around 11 am so that the commuter rush can be easily handled," a BMRCL official said.

According to BMRCL officials, Sadananda had asked them to meet him on October 4 where a head count of invitees was discussed, and he decided the starting point.  After launching services, the dignitaries will take the Metro and disembark at the MG Road station and proceed to the Manekshaw Parade Ground, where the main event will be held.

Tackling the flow
BMRCL top boss, who has faced a tide of criticism for the delays, had earlier informed the media that his department is making all preparations to meet the inaugural crowd inflow.

"Since the train is new and people will want a ride, the novelty will last at least three to four months. On the launch date, we are expecting over 35,000 people and are making preparations to handle 80,000," said N Sivasailam, MD, BMRCL.

With the Metro launch set to be the biggest event of the year in the city, even the police are making preparations to ensure that law and order in maintained. The state police will be deploying around 800 personnel to guard the stations, apart from high security cover around the parade ground.

"We will be covering every minute detail of the high profile movement. Besides this, as is the standard practice of all security measures, crowd movement will be monitored and regulated," said T Sunil Kumar, ACP (law and order).

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