Jostling ahead is a way of life in the national capital. That is not news. But when Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief E. Sreedharan airs his disgust at the boorish culture of Dilliwallas that is taking its toll on the functioning of the Metro rail, it is news. Mr Sreedharan is at his wits’ end grappling with the problem of users shoving aside the elderly and paying scant regard to the disabled and infirm. Shame on the Delhi citizen.
Far from treating the Metro as one of the best things to have happened to this city of marauders, Delhi’s residents are hellbent on pursuing the push’n’shove routine. Mr Sreedharan didn’t face this either in Calcutta when he built the Metro nor when he was Chairman and Managing Director of the Konkan Railway. What can change the my-ticket-first, my-foot-in-first, my-seat-first mindset? A few days of No Metro every week? The Metro has changed lives for people living and working in the areas it connects. One only has to look at the crawl from the suburbs, which no number of expressways seem able to tackle, to know that the Metro is a public transport winner. The DMRC spends about Rs 1 crore every month trying to keep its stations clean. That’s no small change. And it is a lot of effort.
The sheer volume of traffic, often photographed as a speeding blur, masks a selfishness that can spell ruin. Why is Delhi like this? Everyone expected Delhi to respect the Metro. It is argued that it could stem from an ingrained fear of missing the bus. It is, after all, the first time that Delhi has seen what public transport really means. But, then, if Delhi doesn’t become civil, it is the world that will give the city a miss.