Driving around the blue barricades of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has become a routine for regular commuters of one of the busiest stretches of the Capital — Ashram.
Thirty eight-year-old Kareem Ahmed owns a grocery store in New Friends Colony, right at the intersection. He said that since an entire carriageway has been taken up for construction, vehicles crawl in the space available.
“A portion of the roads has been taken for construction and another portion is taken by vehicles, which are illegally parked on the sides of the road,” Ahmed said.
Commuters complain that since the past one-and-a-half years, when the Metro started construction on the stretch, traffic has been severely affected. Every few months the barricades are pushed a few inches towards the road and commuters are left on their own to navigate through it, with no help from either the traffic police or the Metro staff.
“First the barricades were placed right below the flyover and then it has kept moving as per their convenience. At every other station, which is under construction, there is some development but here the commuters have no relief,” said Shantanu Srivastava, a resident of Okhla, who crosses the stretch regularly.
According to Delhi Traffic Police, the Ashram intersection gets over 2 lakh vehicles every day during peak hours both in the morning and evening.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), on the other hand, says building the station here has been “one of the most challenging” projects. The station, which falls on the upcoming Pink Line (Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar), first hit a roadblock when the land allotted to DMRC by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had to be returned as some people managed to get a stay from the Delhi high court on the issue.
Faced with space crunch, the DMRC had to dig deeper and add a third level to the underground station. “At present, we have three barricaded areas on the stretch — one each at the station entry and exit and another for the utility area. As civil work is completed, the cordoned off area would be gradually cleared,” a DMRC official said.
When asked about the delay and the impact construction is having on traffic, the DMRC said, “Our senior officers are monitoring the site. We are also making subways for the station through station box which is why the barricades keep changing as we have to move along with the progress in construction.”
“Our entire design of the station box had to be reworked. Everything from electrical lines to civil works had to be re-designed and in doing so, it is natural that patches of the roads would be taken for carrying out the works,” the official added.