Monday’s commute could be tough for office-goers from NCR towns as all Metro stations outside Delhi will be shut from Sunday night until further orders, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has said.
With Jat community leaders threatening to intensify their protest on Monday to demand job and education quotas, Delhi Police asked the DMRC to terminate all trains at the last station outside on all lines from 11.30pm on Sunday. Apart from 22 stations in NCR towns, 12 in central Delhi will be closed from 8pm on Sunday. The curbs will apply until further orders by Delhi Police, which means Monday will be difficult for commuters.
“DMRC has been directed by the Delhi Police to terminate all trains at Delhi border w.e.f 11.30pm on March 19. It is therefore requested that necessary arrangements may kindly be made for maintenance of law and order at these stations. All entry gates of all Metro stations outside Delhi shall remain closed from 11.30pm on March 19 till closure of arrangements by Delhi Police,” said a letter written by the DMRC to the police chiefs of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad.
The Delhi stations that will be affected are Rajiv Chowk, Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg, Janpath, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, RK Ashram Marg, Pragati Maidan, Khan Market and Shivaji Stadium. The interchange facility will, however, be available as usual at Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat.
Adequate security arrangements will be made at the closed stations as chaos is expected on Monday morning. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has been asked to stay on alert and deploy quick-reaction teams at these stations. Metro staff will not sell tickets beyond designated points.
Jat leaders earlier this month threatened to enter the city with lakhs of supporters on tractors and trolleys on March 20 to demand reservation under the OBC quota. During their last protest at Jantar Mantar on March 2, the leaders threatened to cut supply of milk, vegetables and other essentials to Delhi and bring the city to a standstill if their demands weren’t met.
Commuters are worried about how they will travel in the absence of Metro services.
“Whenever protests happen, the Metro is the best and safest option to travel. If they shut the Metro, how will we commute? There will be violence and traffic jams on roads and the Metro too will not be available,” said Neha Singh, who travels to her office in Gurgaon from Preet Vihar every morning.
Passengers coming from the airport will also be affected and won’t be able to exit from the Shivaji Stadium station.
“I usually return in the evening from the airport and take an auto from Shivaji Stadium to go to my house in Gole Market. Now, I will have to go all the way to New Delhi station and come from there. The roads will be closed, so I think I will have to skip work on Monday,” said Rakesh Singh, who works for an airline.
At two stations, New Ashok Nagar (last station on the Noida line) and Arjangarh (last station on the Gurgaon line), train reversal facility is not available. Trains will be vacated at the last stations and empty trains will go further to return.
Police have warned the agitators from entering the city and have said Section 144 of CrPC (prohibiting unlawful assembly) will be imposed in many parts of Delhi from Sunday evening. Traffic police plan to block roads in central and south Delhi and have advised students taking board exams on Monday to plan their visits to exam centres better. Class 12 students will write their maths exam on Monday.