New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Monday said that the decision to resume the metro services was rightly made as people were facing difficulty in travelling due to the shutdown.
After a hiatus of more than five months, the Delhi Metro resumed its services on the Yellow line, connecting Samaypur Badli to Huda City Centre, and Rapid Metro in Gurugram with abundant caution.
The first metro left the platform from Huda City Centre metro station in Gurugram, in Haryana for Samaypur Badli metro station in Delhi at 7 a.m.
The crowd at the stations in the morning was, however, scarce, and mainly consisted of office-goers and people travelling from other cities to the national capital.
“We have made all the arrangements to make the travel safe for people and it is a right decision to open the metro services as people were waiting for it to restart. It is a lifeline and without it people were facing difficulty in travelling,” said A. K. Garg, Director (Operations) at Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
Garg said that he interacted with the passengers on the way from Malviya Nagar to Rajiv Chowk to gauge their reactions. “They all were satisfied with the preparations done by the DMRC and were confident about the safety. There is an arrangement of sanitization, thermal screening, social distancing at the station.”
Besides this, Atul Katiyar, Joint Commissioner of Police of New Delhi Range, said that police have been deployed outside the station to control the crowd, maintain social distancing, and ask people to wear masks.
Asked about if people would be penalised for not wearing masks, the Joint Commissioner said, “Imposing fine on people is our last resort. We will first convince the people to wear the mask and will also provide it to them.”
While many commuters appreciated the precautionary measures in place, some rued over its connectivity to other metro lines. “The first journey was pleasant. All the precautionary measures are in place. The preparation has been made exactly how it should be during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mohammed Asad, travelling from Kashmere Gate to Nangloi.
A person travelling from Varanasi to Greater Noida, which falls on the aqua line, and another going to Ganga Ram Hospital, rued that not all the metro lines are functional and faced issues due to the lack of connectivity.
“I work at Ganga Ram Hospital, I had to reach the hospital by 7.30 a.m., but since the Blue Line is not working, I am late for my job. I should have taken a cab,” said a disheartened Mahaveer Prasad.
Over a period of next five days, the rest of the metro lines will also be made operational with all safety measures in place to check the spread of Covid-19 in the Metro premises which requires everyone to follow a new normal of social distancing, face mask and hand sanitisation.
At a time when the capital city is reportedly witnessing a second wave of the viral infection, the government has allowed for the metro rail service to resume as a part of the Unlock 4.0 in a bid to restart the economy, while also keeping in mind the huge loss incurred by the corporation in the last few months.
Even though the government has, time and again, asserted that both lives and livelihood are important, several epidemiologists believe that resumption of the metro will further increase the infection in the city.