Delhi minister questions DMRC for delay in evacuation process
Two trains, which were stuck between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur, had to be evacuated after the overhead electrification broke down on Tuesday morningUpdated: May 22, 2019 03:05 IST
Delhi’s transport lifeline — the Delhi Metro system — on Tuesday faced major criticism from the Delhi government and commuters for delay in evacuating passengers stuck in trains that were stranded due to a snag.
Two trains, which were stuck between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur, had to be evacuated after the overhead electrification broke down on Tuesday morning. A letter written by Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) managing director, Mangu Singh, said that one train was evacuated in 1 hour and 25 minutes and the other took 1 hour and 42 minutes to empty out.
Both the trains were together carrying over 5,600 passengers, according to a statement issued by the Metro.
The Delhi Metro officials, however, said that the time difference in evacuating one train was a little more than the other because of the higher number of passengers in that train.
Many commuters complained that Metro staff failed to act promptly to get passengers out. Commuters also said that while they waited for assistance, the air conditioner inside trains were turned off. “After 15-20 minutes, I started feeling uncomfortable. All the doors were shut and there was no ventilation,” said Kishore Niranjan, a passenger. He also said that even after the passengers were de-boarded through the emergency exit, they had to walk for around 50 metres on the high edges of the tracks before they reached the platform. The sweltering heat made the experience worse.
“There were just two Metro officials standing at the emergency exit to help people down the ramp, but no one helped us till the platform and we were lost on where to go from there,” Suniddhi Pathak, another commuter said.
“The DMRC arranged buses at short notice for the commuters while starting restoration operations simultaneously,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC. He added, “Disturbances in suburban metro operations are extremely tricky in urban transportation with high frequency of trains.”
Jitender Rana, senior commandant, CISF, also had similar views. “There were at least 18,000 to 20,000 passengers at Qutab Minar station. Fearing a possibility of a stampede, we asked passengers to move down and the station entry had to be locked until the situation normalised,” Rana said.