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India-Mauritius Collaboration: Special Wrapped Train Launched At Metro Express Depot In Richelieu

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A symbolic ceremony for the unveiling of a train of the Metro Express, wrapped with illustrations showcasing Mauritius-India bilateral partnership, was held, this morning, at the Richelieu Depot of the Metro Express Limited (MEL).

The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo; the High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Mrs K. Nandini Singla; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Metro Express Limited, Mr Das Mootanah, and other dignitaries were present at the ceremony.

In his address, the Minister highlighted that this ceremony marked the collaboration between his Ministry, MEL and the High Commission of India in the context of India’s 75th Independence Anniversary as well as the Anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relationship between Mauritius and India.

India-Mauritius Collaboration - Special Wrapped Train Launched

“This train wrap,” he underscored, “reflects India-Mauritius relations, not only through visuals of the infrastructural projects financed by the Government of India, but also demonstrates our gratitude to the Government of India for the support that it has provided to Mauritius over all these years.”

Mr Ganoo stressed that even if the years 2020-2021 were very challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MEL made considerable progress, notably through the completion of two years of operation and by reaching the threshold of six million commuters since December 2019 with the launch of Phase 2A (Quatre-Bornes-Rose-Hill). The Minister further stated that following a survey, MEL observed that passengers were very enthusiastic and satisfied with the service provided. “This is because the Light Rail Vehicles are clean, spacious and offer a quality travel experience and have proven to be a very comfortable, reliable and environmental-friendly means of transport,” he added.

Mr Ganoo emphasised that the Metro Express project was a symbol of the modernisation process of Mauritius and would regenerate all the urban spaces of the country.

K Nandini Singla at Launch of Special Wrapped Train

For her part, Mrs Singla indicated that the six million ridership was a testimony to the popularity of the Metro Express and its fast-growing acceptance as a safe, reliable and fast mode of transport. “The Metro Express,” she highlighted, “is fast transforming the transport landscape by helping decongest roads; reducing dependency of fossil fuels, bringing down road accidents and, emerging as an important node for economic activities.” “These benefits will be further enhanced with the completion of the Curepipe-Réduit connection by the end of this year,” Mrs Singla pointed out.

Furthermore, the Indian High Commissioner emphasised that the Metro Express project was a flagship project between India and Mauritius as it was the first metro project undertaken by the Government of India anywhere abroad. “The Metro Express has been and will remain our signature bilateral project, but will be further accentuated by the upcoming Metro Station at Réduit to be named after Mahatma Gandhi and will stand tall as a symbol of our uniquely close ties,” she stated.

India-Mauritius Collaboration - Special Wrapped Train Launched

As regards the special train wrap, Mrs Singla underlined that this would visually demonstrate India’s decades-long developmental partnership with Mauritius, India’s enduring goodwill for Mauritius as well as India’s capabilities in delivering large-scale, quality infrastructure projects at reasonable costs.

As for Mr Mootanah, he pointed out that works as regards other phases of the Metro Express project were progressing well and the whole Curepipe-Port-Louis route was expected to be completed by the end of this year. “We are also targeting to launch the next stretch up to Phoenix before June 2022,” he added.

India-Mauritius Collaboration - Special Wrapped Train Launched

The CEO further indicated that the Government entrusted MEL to do feasibility studies so as to extend the Metro Project towards the East, namely in regions such as Moka, Côte d’Or, St Pierre. “Looking even further, we would be working on a very wide masterplan so that we can extend the Light Rail Vehicle system to several other regions across the island,” concluded Mr Mootanah.

The winner of the painting contest launched by the High Commission of India when five million riders on the Metro Express was reached was also announced on the occasion and was awarded a cheque of Rs 10,000.

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