KOCHI: The first ride of the Kochi Metro Rail was reserved for special guests. The day after the inauguration of the Kochi Metro by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) offered a free ride to students of special schools, elders from old-age homes and inhabitants of orphanages in and around Kochi on Sunday morning. Giving them company was Health Minister K K Shailaja. The Minister was accompanied by Social Department Director TV Anupama. The children, numbering 450 and 150 teachers, were welcomed on board the Kochi Metro Rail with colourful balloons, flags and festoons, and not surprisingly, a festive atmosphere filled the metro coaches on Sunday.
Officers said students from government-run institutions within Kochi Corporation, Aluva Municipality, Kalamassery Municipality and Choornikkara Panchayat were selected for the first ride. Minister Shailaja was seen interacting with the kids, who were in a celebratory mood, enjoying every passing station from Kalamassery to Aluva and return. In the afternoon, the KMRL also gave the workers, who were involved in the construction of the metro rail day and night, a free ride. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in his speech during the inaugural ceremony on Saturday, suggested that the KMRL give a free ride to all the workers as a thanks giving gesture. Last week, KMRL had honoured the workers by giving them a traditional Kerala Sadya (feast). Around 600 labourers of the Kochi Metro at various sites enjoyed the sumptuous meal. KMRL MD Elias George and other officers joined the workers for the Sadya.