Minutes after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced on Thursday that the metro rail in Bhopal will be named for Raja Bhoj, an 11th century ruler, a local Congress MLA opposed the decision.
Kamal Nath performed the 'bhumi pujan' (ground-breaking ceremony) for the project near Gayatri Mandir on Hoshangabad Road here.
Laying the foundation stone of the ₹6,941.4 project, Nath said that normally such project is named after the city, but the metro in Bhopal will be called `Bhoj Metro Rail'.
Raja Bhoj was an 11th century ruler from the Parmar dynasty which once ruled the area.
However, the announcement did not go down well with local Congress MLA Arif Masood.
Speaking at the same event, Masood said the name should be Bhopal Metro, as the city has several other things named after Raja Bhoj.
"I was born and brought up in Bhopal, elected by the people here. So we want the project to be named after Bhopal. It is up to the CM and the government to take final decision," he said.
The opposition BJP welcomed Nath's announcement.
"Raja Bhoj was the founder of Bhopal, which was a well-planned city. Bhopal's Upper Lake, one of the biggest man-made water bodies of Asia, and the historical lord Shiva temple at Bhojpur were his gifts. So naming the project after the great Parmar king is a welcome move," state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said.
On Masood's objection, Agrawal said it was wrong and against the protocol as he spoke against the decision of the chief minister of his own party.
Nath, in his speech, said metro is necessary for future planning of the cities.
"One can imagine what would have happened to Delhi in the absence of the development of adjoining cities -- Gurgaon and Noida. So it is necessary to plan the cities in advance," he said.
He had sanctioned funds for preparing the detailed project report (DPR) for metro in Bhopal and Indore when he was Union urban development minister, the chief minister said.
State's Urban Development Minister Jaiwardhan Singh said the Bhoj Metro Rail project is proposed to have two corridors of total 27.87 km -- a 14.94 km route from Karond Circle to AIIMS and 12.88 km route from Bhadbhada Chouraha to Ratnagiri Square.
The project will have elevated section of 26.08 km with 28 stations and an underground section of 1.79 km with two stations.
The first phase is expected to be completed by December 2022, Singh informed.
Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh and several ministers were also present at the ceremony.