Delhi Metro: The Defeline of Delhi

Not long ago, Delhiites used to curse the public transport system of the national capital. Errant, reckless and rash bus drivers, showing no sign of courtesy even to the ladies as well as the elderly, made commuting from one place to the other a painfully daunting task.

Delhi Metro has changed the way people travel within Delhi. With the arrival of Metro, travelling from one place to another has become joyfully exciting, fast, noiseless, dust free and absolutely dependable. For most people living in Delhi, Metro is their great pride, as it has made their life comfortable by making travelling stress free. It has brought relief from traffic snarls.

Delhi Metro is thus a world-class metro. It is one of the few metro systems in the world having an operational profit from the very first day. It is India’s second urban-mass rapid transportation system after Kolkata Metro. Delhi Metro or Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to be precise, is a metro system serving Delhi and the suburbs such as Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad region in the National Capital Region of India. Delhi Metro is the world’s thirteenth largest metro system in terms of length. It is a dream come true for the workers and people employed and a blessing for its commuters.

After the 1980s, Delhi saw a major population explosion and about fivefold rise in the number of vehicles. As a result, the other public transport system i.e.. bus service was unable to bear the load. Commuters took to private vehicles which increased the traffic congestion as well as pollution. So in 1984, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Urban Arts Commission came up with a proposal of developing multi-modal transportation system which would curb all the problems and would connect the city in a better way.

After the technical study and finalising the finance issue the physical construction of Delhi Metro was started on 1st October, 1998. The first line of Delhi Metro was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 24th December, 2002. It became the second rapid system in India after the Kolkata Metro which was operational since 1984. The first phase of the Metro was completed on the estimated budget and almost-three years ahead of schedule, an achievement described by Business Week Magazine as ‘nothing short of a miracle’.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) is a state-owned company with equal participation from the Government of India and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. The huge investment involved in the construction comes from both of these sectors as well as from the loans from companies. These companies are banks like Japan Bank for International Cooperation or Indian companies like Reliance Infra. In 2007, the Delhi Metro claimed to be one of the only five metro systems in the world that operates at a profit without governmental aids. This was achieved by keeping the maintenance cost limited and by getting additional revenues from advertisements and property development, apart from the ticket sales.

With the increasing association with Delhi as an image of the city’s everyday life, it became popular filming location for films like ‘Love Aaj Kal’, ‘Delhi 6’, ‘Paa’ ete and for some other advertisements too. The metro also generates revenue with such a lease. Delhi Metro has air-conditioned coaches. To ensure safety, it is equipped with the most modern control and communication system. It has all the conveniences and world class amenities like ATMs, food outlets, cafes, mobile recharge stores etc., in most of the stations.

Students of many art colleges have designed decorative paintings at Metro Stations, while pillars on some elevated sections have been decorated with the creations of schoolchildren. Some of the newer metro stations conduct rainwater harvesting as an environment protection measure. In order to reduce its dependence on non-renewable sources of energy, DMRC is looking forward to harness solar energy. Infact DMRC has been certified by the United Nations as the first metro system in the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions thereby reducing pollution levels in the city.

Delhi Metro has a huge ridership on the daily basis and even record breaking number of commuters on the festival days. Commuters find it most convenient as it saves their money, save them from ever-lasting time consuming traffic, pollution, rains. heat among other things. The brighter side does not end here. DMRC conducts awareness programmes for the labour engaged in the construction work on issues like HIV/AIDS etc. It also provides medical facilities and educational services to its labourers and to their children. Overlooking some minute drawbacks like overcrowding, congestion during construction, Delhi Metro is a huge success in the capital city. It has, in more than one way, helped in the beautification of the city. Looking at such a positive success, government is planning to come up with more such metros in other cities like Mumbai and Lucknow. It is also attracting foreign investors who wish to be a part of one such profitable plan.