Along with emerging as a world-class transportation system over the past decade, the Delhi Metro and its stations also seem to have become the preferred spot for committing
A series of suicide attempts over the past couple of months have sent Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials in panic mode. They, however, do not have any solution to the problem.
BS Gujjar, additional DCP (railways), said that on an average per year four to five suicide attempts or accidents take place on Metro stations. This year, however, four to five incidents have taken place in the first two months.
“These kind of problems have no ready solutions. We can increase vigil, depute more security guards to organise and manage people at overcrowded stations, but how can we curtail the trend of attempting suicide,” asked a senior official of DMRC.
In several Asian and European countries, screen doors have been installed at platforms to stop people from jumping on the tracks.
This arrangement, though initially planned by the Delhi Metro, is not likely to be implemented here in a big way soon. Currently, only the stations on the Airport Metro line have screen doors.
According to a senior DMRC officer, installing screen doors at platforms is very expensive. The Delhi Metro, which is already reeling under severe debt, cannot bear the cost at a time when it is in the process of expanding its network by 120km in phase 3.
Installing screen doors may also trigger problems such as software snags in the system, the official said.
“The existing operational software that opens and closes train doors is already running with snags, which resulted in incidents like trains running with commuters being stuck between doors. If screen doors are installed a new software system will have to be in place that will open and close train doors and screen doors together.”
“We are still planning to install screen doors at two of the busiest interchange stations — Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate. At the same time, we are also trying to increase communication with commuters by increasing our volunteers’ strength. Besides we have decided to regularly train our drivers to improve their quick reaction skill,” the DMRC officer added.
“The only relief for Delhi Metro is that most of the recent suicide attempts were foiled by train drivers,” said Anuj Dayal, spokesperson, DMRC.Years ago, authorities had made arrangements of playing soft music at Kolkata Metro stations to calm commuters and arrest the growing suicide attempts.