France to pump more funds into Namma Metro

Namma Metro saw a rare visitor on Monday — French minister of foreign affairs and international development, Jean-Marc Ayrault. The mass transit project will get more financial assistance from France, the dignitary said after taking a Metro ride from Vidhana Soudha to MG Road.

"I know that Agence Francaise De Developpement has funded the Metro project in Bengaluru. We will continue to invest in such ventures, not only in Bengaluru but even other major cities in India. French companies like Alstom and Thalys are building success stories in Bengaluru — they are working on the project and the trains have been procured from Korea and Japan. We will partner with BMRC and share our expertise in transportation technologies," he said.

Jean-Marc said his meeting with finance minister Arun Jaitley and his team was fruitful. "We are working in sectors like defence, space and renewable energy. India's efforts to develop its economy and its commitment to switch to renewable energy as part of the Paris Agreement are laudable. These are huge international projects and we are building strategic partnerships with India in these areas," he added.

The minister also met Fabrice Grolaire, the French artist who has beautified the Plaza Theatre entrance of MG Road Metro Station, painted several blocks of the Cubbon Park and Peenya stations and even some Metro tunnels. Fabrice is working under the Art in Transit Project by Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, which aims to revitalize public spaces like Metro stations and involves exchange programmes between foreign artists and art students.

Jean-Marc took photographs of Fabrice's work from his personal cellphone. He took a stroll down Church Street, which was off limits for vehicles for half an hour. The French delegation had an interaction on how Indo-French startups are working at NUMA Bengaluru, an innovation hub on Church Street.

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