Early this month, Delhi got connected to Gurgaon through a metro line. The addition of 12.53 km to Delhi’s Metro made it possible to reach the millennium city from the Central Secretariat and Qutub Minar within minutes. The newly opened line has already become a huge hit among the Delhites. More than 32,000 commuters took advantage of it no sooner than it came into operation.
Since its opening in 2002, the Delhi metro service has received an overwhelming response. It has been a big boon to the residents of the capital, who are frustrated with the infamous traffic rush and busy roads, where almost 70 lakhs vehicles do ply every day.
The train service boasts of having carried 1.25 billion commuters over the past eight years, which is more than the estimated 2011 population of India (1.20 billion). The Delhi Metro created another record by this month by registering the highest ever ridership of 14 lakh people on a single day. The Metro has also been credited for maintaining safety and security standards.
But challenges lie ahead. Despite the much fanfare and positive response it received on its operation, problems have already begun to surface. If not addressed on time, it could end up being yet another victim of the much criticized Indian system.
Credit goes to the officials for maintaining the rules – so far. Notice boards are on display regarding punishments for offences like spitting, sitting on the floor, or not cooperating with metro security. However, overcrowding the trains and stations has already become a big headache. It often becomes impossible to board the train during office hours, where a near-stampede situation quite often occurs. Repeated appeal of the Metro officials to keep away from standing close to trains fall on deaf ears, raising serious safety concerns.
The construction of the metro began in 1998, in two phases. Phase I has been completed along with parts of Phase II. The 14,430 crore rupee train service has five lines reaching to most of the major residential and commercial areas of Delhi. It covers a total distance of 138 kms. with 117 stations. The plan is to cover the whole of Delhi by 2021. This will be something for Delhiites to celebrate with a bang. But unless they stand up and take extra care while making most of their prized possession, the celebration could end up in a whimper.
The journey from Chandani Chowk to Gurgaon -- and the whole service -- could meet the fate the Akshyay Kumar-starrer Bollywood flick, Chandani Chowk to China. A disaster. Not a Anuragh Basu classic Life In A Metro. A scintillating hit.