The directors and engineers of Delhi Metro were a sceptical lot when in 2006 they were handed over the gigantic task of adding 125km to its existing 65km network before the Commonwealth Games of 2010.
That the second phase of Metro's expansion has been a massive success is clear from the number of commuters that travel by the Metro daily. The completion of the second phase within the deadline has also given the Metro enough confidence to take up another extension of 140km in five years.
"We are optimistic that we will be able to complete phase 3 con struction on time despite several odds. Successful completion of construction under Phase 3 by 2016 would be another milestone," said a Metro spokesperson. But the dream run could be cut short if the many snags, late running of trains, malfunction of doors, failure of signals, etc., plaguing the network in the past two years are taken into account. Considering all these glitches, the Metro's aim of cutting down peak-hour frequency of trains to 2 minutes and running trains without drivers after phase 3 seem too ambitious.
Though Metro officials are confident that they will be able to tide over these glitches, its former chief E Sreedharan isn't. "For a project like this, at least one more year would be needed," Sreedharan said.
Another problem with Metro's expansion is lack of last mile connectivity especially in NCR cities. "I have to spend about R150 every day to commute between my house and the Metro station in Vaishali," claimed Manoj Taneja, a resident of Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.
Metro has assured that stations in the next phase will have last mile connectivity.