The Prime Minister, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and other distinguished dignitaries made the first trip on sunday afternoon on the Metro to mark the official start of operations of the Metro Express’ line from Rose Hill to Réduit covering a route of 3,4 kilometers. This launching ispart of the festivities commemorating the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mauritius and India. The Prime Minister then travelled to the Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI), in Moka, with the other dignitaries, to take part in a celebration for the formal opening of the Rose Hill-Réduit Metro Express line.
Other eminent personalities present for the events are the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Minister of Tourism, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo; the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo; other Ministers and Members of Parliament; the Indian High Commissioner to Mauritius, Mrs K. Nandini Singla and the Chief Executive Officer of Metro Express Limited, Dr Das Mootanah.
In his speech, Prime Minister Jugnauth emphasized that, despite the many difficulties the country has been experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic setbacks, the government’s vision for a modern and inclusive Mauritius is taking shape, among other things, through the Metro Express project. He emphasized that this was the biggest railroad project carried out outside of India with resources and knowledge from India. He thanked Shri Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, and the Indian High Commissioner to Mauritius for their assistance in helping Mauritius undertake the Metro Express project.
The fourth phase of the Metro Express project, which will be implemented and stretch roughly 10,5 kilometers from Réduit to Côte d’Or through St. Pierre, has already received funding, according to Prime Minister Jugnauth.
He noted that, in addition to the Metro Express project, the Indian Government had lately sponsored the New Supreme Court, the New ENT Hospital, the Civil Service College, the New Forensic Science Laboratory, as well as a sizable number of social housing units. The Mauritian populace, the prime minister continued, has warmly embraced this new stage of the nation’s economic development. He claimed that every day, up to 55,000 commuters take advantage of the Metro Express, a cutting-edge, effective, and environmentally responsible method of transportation. An additional wave of commuters will benefit from the Metro Express service once the 3,4-kilometer Rose Hill-Reduit line begins commercial operations today, he noted.
Mr. Jugnauth noted that a master plan is being prepared to expand the Metro Express project nationwide to both urban and rural areas because social justice and inclusiveness are top priorities for the government. He added that the Metro Express will eventually run primarily on clean, renewable energy sources and will help the nation from both an environmental and financial standpoint. He expressed his gratitude to all the parties involved for completing this project quickly.
The Mahatma Gandhi station, according to Prime Minister Jugnauth, is a testament to the role Mahatma Gandhi played in the educational liberation of the masses in India and Mauritius.
As for Minister Ganoo, he indicated that the project is an exceptional one as it is regenerating the transport sector and has upscaled the public transport system in Mauritius. The project, he stressed, bears testimony of the friendship between Mauritius and India. He also commended the Indian Government for all the support extended to Mauritius in the implementation of the Metro Express project. According to him, the project is in line with Government’s vision to decarbonise the local public transport system.
The Indian High Commissioner, for her part, commended all stakeholders involved in the Metro Express project. She recalled that this is one of the few projects in the world where milestones have been achieved ahead of schedule. She stressed that India feels proud to partner with the Mauritian Government to implement this sustainable project, which is a vehicle for Mauritius’s economic growth and development.
The extension of the Metro Express from Réduit to Côte d’Or will be funded by a grant of USD 25 million and a line of credit worth USD 300 million from India, according to the High Commissioner Singla. She continued by saying that this next phase would further alter not only the Mauritian landscape but also the lives of its citizens.
She also delivered the message from Prime Minister Modi, in which he emphasized how the third phase of the Metro Express project (the Rose Hill-Réduit line) will further improve the standard of living for Mauritius residents.
The project, according to Shri Modi, exemplifies the spirit of progress through cooperation for the welfare of Mauritians. He commended the Mauritian Government for having named one metro station after Mahatma Gandhi and expressed confidence that Mauritius and India will continue to march together in the future. On another note, he invited Prime Minister Jugnauth, to attend as a special guest, the G20 Summit later this year.
The Metro Express project, according to Dr. Mootanah, is the largest infrastructural undertaking in Mauritius in recent memory. He said that 14 million commuters had utilized the Metro Express to date and thanked the Indian government and other stakeholders for their unwavering assistance in putting this initiative into action.
It is to be noted that the Government of India has disbursed a total of almost USD 1 billion for the Metro Project, out of which almost one-third has been the grant assistance. This includes the USD 527 mn special Economic Package of 2016 which included Grant USD 267mn and LOC USD 260 mn for Phase I & II, LOC of USD 190 mn (2021) & Grant of USD 10 mn for phase III and LOC of USD 300mn (2022) & Grant of USD 25 mn for the proposed Phase IV of the Metro Project from Reduit to St Pierre and Cote D’Or. The Metro Express Project is a flagship project of the Government of India and is also the first such GoI-funded project in Africa.”