Farmers’ protest: Delhi-NCR commuters bear brunt of suspended Metro services
Metro commuters travelling across border, from or to Delhi, faced problems on Thursday morning with the Delhi Metro restricting its routes that lead to the neighbouring states in the wake of the farmers calling for a “Dilli Chalo” march. The two-day protest is against the Centre’s recently passed farm bills.
The restriction on trains going from Delhi towards National Capital Region (NCR) were lifted after 2pm while incoming trains remained suspended till further orders, officials said.
Delhi Metro also operates in parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh that share border with the Capital. On Wednesday, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) decided to stop regular services between several stations on seven of its corridors during the first half of Thursday due to the farmers’ rally. This was done on the request of the Delhi Police to avoid overcrowding amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move left a number of passengers stranded, forcing them to either book a cab, take e-rickshaw or a three wheeler for their onward journey.
Greater Noida resident Vivek Rana, who stays in GTB Nagar and is preparing for civil services, said he was stranded at Mayur Vihar Extension Metro station as there was no service beyond New Ashok Vihar for those wanting to go to Noida.
“I had to book a bike ride because cabs were costly. Had I been aware that the situation is so bad, I wouldn’t have come. Even cab drivers are apprehensive in crossing the border because of the heavy police presence,” he said.
Likewise, Sanjeev Kumar Jha, 49, a visiting faculty and industrial consultant, who travels everyday for work from Dwarka, Sector 9, to Noida, Sector 15, by Delhi Metro, said, “Today, I had to get down at New Ashok Nagar and then take an e-rickshaw to reach my office in Sector 5. Initially, when we boarded the train, it was supposed to go till Noida, Sector 16, but on the way, the operators announced that it will terminate at New Ashok Nagar only.”
Another passenger who had to reach Noida, Sector 168, said when he got off at Mayur Vihar Extension Metro station, he booked two cabs but both cancelled the rides as no one wanted to cross border. “It was only after being stranded for almost an hour that I managed to persuade a cab driver to drop me,” said the commuter who said he works at the UNICEF, but did not wish to be named.
E-rickshaw drivers and auto drivers plying near Metro stations, however, got lucky as they had plenty of passengers willing to go to Noida, many of these getting off at New Ashok Nagar and Mayur Vihar Metro stations.
Ratan Singh , a 40-year-old auto driver, said the first drop he got in the morning was at Noida, Sector 18. “We don’t get such passengers because Metro has direct connectivity. Some even got far off drops. There’s a lot of police at the border. They stop us, look inside before letting us go. Some vehicles are stopped to enquire where they’re going and who are they ferrying,” Singh added.
“From 2 pm onwards, Metro services were available from Delhi towards the NCR sections. However, services from NCR sections to Delhi still continue to remain suspended due to security reasons till further notice,” read the statement issued by the DMRC.