Metro Strains 

<br><EM>ABIJIT SHARMA</EM>

Jan. 23, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. :04 No.-15 Jan. 21-2011 (Magh 07,2067)

The commuters in the Indian capital are in a new world these days. A housewife from Saket, in south Delhi, doesn’t have to think twice before going to shop at Chandani Chowk, an old market in the north Delhi. Students from the north campus of Delhi University are seen hanging around freely in south Delhi malls till late night. Given the fact that the distance between these two parts of Delhi is of more than two hours, it was something people could not even imagine before.  


The Metro has transformed the life of the Delhi commuters. The Delhiites have witnessed a complete transformation in their way of commuting. Eight years after it began, the Metro is ever growing. Travelling inside the city, which used to be an excruciating experience, is now not only painless but also a lot faster. Neither do the people have to worry about riding an over-charging auto-rickshaw nor any worry about hours-long jams. The Metro is everywhere. It connects the posh southern part of Delhi to old markets of North Delhi and also the western part to the more residential eastern section. People have got access to the service in almost all the major shopping and residential points including the airport. 


Not surprisingly, the Metro carries more than one and a half million passengers a day.  So influential the Delhi Metro has been that, even IT city Bangalore has decided to follow in its footsteps.


Not that the picture is rosy in all fronts. There have been complaints of a number of thorns. So much so that it has lost some of its initial credibility Something which was being hailed as a boon is at times seen as a bane!


The ‘technical glitches’ in recent times have frequently disrupted the functioning of the trains. The trains come to a complete halt mid-way through the track for a long time with passengers stuck inside. Passengers are eventually evacuated through emergency means. The metro stations, during such times become overly crowded and movement of every train thereafter is affected. Five serious disruptions had been reported in the last one month alone.


The Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) has also found it at the receiving end for its failure to provide proper management at metro stations. Despite huge crowds at the stations, there is hardly any mechanism for controlling them. The result: entering into and exiting from a train becomes a herculean task. Although people have complained of stampede-like situations, the DMRC has not bothered to fix the problem.


With the construction of few more lines, the DMRC certainly has high hopes. But there have been too many ‘technical hitches’ in too short a time period. This does not augur well for the pride of the Indian capital.

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