Power snag halts Metro, thousands sweat, suffer

Thousands of Metro commuters were stranded between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur on Yellow Line (that connects Samaypur Badli with Huda City Centre) on Tuesday, after the overhead electrification wire broke down, halting operations for over four hours.

The 48.8km Yellow Line from Samaypur Badli to Huda City Centre, has a ridership of around 8 lakh passengers daily.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials said that though snags have hit services regularly, this was probably the first time in Delhi Metro’s history that two trains — with over 5,600 passengers — had to be evacuated simultaneously.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal reacted to the chaos and asked for a detailed report on the problem. “I have asked transport minister to seek a detailed report and direct Delhi Metro to fix responsibility,” Kejriwal tweeted on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Delhi Metro said that the issue was reported at 9.27am on Tuesday, when a driver reported the OHE breakdown, leading to tripping of power supply at the Sultanpur Metro station. The train was coming from Samaypur Badli.

“By 9.45am, two trains in this section — one between Qutub Minar and Chhattarpur and the other between Chattarpur and Sultanpur — came to a standstill. When the fault could not be fixed within the stipulated time, we decided to deboard passengers and guided them safely towards the nearest Metro stations,” a Metro spokesperson explained.

The exit door at the end of the train was thrown open by the Metro staff and the ramp was pulled out to assist passengers to get on to the tracks.

The official said that both the trains were packed with commuters, with an estimate of around 2,600 passengers in one train and around 3,000 in the other. This made the process of evacuation difficult, with many trapped commuters complaining of nausea because of the packed coaches, officials said.

“By 11.10am one train was evacuated and by 11.27am we managed to empty out the second train,” the spokesperson added.

Metro officials said around 1.15pm, OHE repairs were completed and overhead wires were charged. The stranded trains were also removed .

To control the crowd, security officials closed entry and exit at all affected stations till 2pm, when Metro operations were completely restored.

DMRC said that two teams of 16 engineers and technicians were deployed to fix the fault, while over 100 officials were involved in managing the crowds at stations. The Metro also claimed to have run feeder services between Qutub Minar and Ghitorni stations, while the remaining line was being operated in two loops, from Samaypur Badli to Qutub Minar and from Sultanpur to Huda City Centre.

While the fault was being fixed, services was stopped between Sultanpur and Qutub Minar.

Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot wrote a letter to the DMRC managing director Mangu Singh wanting to know why his office was not informed of such a major breakdown. In his letter he also asked that responsibility for Tuesday’s incident be fixed.

“Such incidents must be reported to the minister (transport) immediately. In today’s (Tuesday’s) case, minister’s office as well as commissioner (transport) had to get in touch with the MD, DMRC,” the letter read.

First Published:
May 22, 2019 04:10 IST

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