For most commuters, travelling by the Delhi metro on Sunday afternoon turned out to be a nightmare, if not a life-threatening situation.
Confusion swiftly gave way to paranoia as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s service throughout the city was brought to a grinding halt due to a technical snag at one station.
Rajiv Chowk looked like a disaster zone and was almost transformed into one during the 20-odd minutes between when entry restrictions were imposed, and the resumption of train service at 5 pm at Rajiv Chowk.
Four commuters suffered ankle fractures and suffocation owing to a stampede-like situation because of the unmanageable rush of commuters exiting the station.
The injured, Hema Khedia (27), Seema Tripathi (28), Ashok Kumar (40) and Ayesha (18), were admitted at RML Hospital for examination.
“All of them seem to be fracture cases, and have been sent to the orthopaedic department for further investigation,” said a doctor on duty, on the condition of anonymity, as he isn’t authorised to speak.
According to sources, X-rays of all the four confirmed fracture.
“Three of them have fractured their ankle and one has fractured the right toe,” said the source.
Vikram Chandra (39), a resident of Saket cursed himself for picking Sunday for a metro expedition with his family.
“I boarded the train from Yamuna Bank at 2:30 pm with my wife and two children. We were on our way to Rajiv Chowk when the train suddenly stopped. Those two hours of mayhem, without any information about what was wrong, were tortuous,” he said.
The Chandras finally de-board the Metro at Rajiv Chowk around 4:30 p.m.
Rahul Sharma (23), a student who claimed to have queued-up to enter the platform for more than an hour at Rajiv Chowk said, “I don’t know what’s happening. First it takes me half an hour to get through the security check and get a token and now this.”
“Why won’t they tell us what’s wrong?”
Scores of commuters en route to Dwarka – one of the busiest routes on the Delhi Metro’s itinerary, who were made to vacate a train at Rajiv Chowk by security personnel - only ended-up adding to a multitude of commuters like Sharma, while those oblivious of the situation waited to enter.
Many commuters could be heard calling their family and friends and telling them not to board the Metro today.
Disruption of service made commuter tempers soar - most notably at the Pragati Maidan Metro Station where the train driver was surrounded by an enraged group of 20-30 people who demanded to know the reason behind the delay.
Passengers who had boarded the Metro from Dwarka Sector 9 were stuck at Subhash Nagar station for around 45 minutes first.
“The train then started moving slowly but again came to a stop at Ramakrishna Ashram station. When it didn’t move for about 15 minutes, I decided to get off and take an auto to CP,” said Seema Sharma, who was headed to CP to spend her Sunday.
(With inputs from Rhythma Kaul and Pranav Dixit)