Metro commuters hit by mock drill

February 15th, 2012 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Delhi Metro conducted a drill Wednesday morning in six busy Metro stations to check the response time in the event of an earthquake and to check if its staff is ready to deal with disasters, but the nearly half-an-hour-long mock exercise hit thousands of commuters hard.

While many commuters admitted they knew about the temporary stoppage of services due to the drill, others complained they had no clue that trains would be halted and stations closed down from about 11.30 a.m. till 12.00 noon.

The mega mock drill was conducted by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

“The exercise disrupted train services for about 20 minutes at the AIIMS, Inderlok, Karkardooma, Tilak Nagar, Khan Market and Dwarka Sector 10 Metro stations,” a Delhi Metro official said.

The commuters complained that though the drill was conducted only at six different metro stations, the entire service was hit.

“It is really irritating, the metro was saying the mock drill was happening only in six Metro stations, but even the other Metro stations were affected and the trains were also delayed. I was in INA Metro station and they were delaying giving me a token for about 15 minutes,” complained Meera Aggarwal, a regular commuter.

Deepti Chibber, a Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) staff, said she had to take half-day’s leave due to the drill.

“I was waiting outside the Tilak Nagar Metro station for about 25 minutes, as I was not aware of the mock drill. With Metro not plying, buses were packed with people and due to the mock drill, autorickshaws were charging double the fare… I had to take a half-day’s leave.”

Meanwhile, some commuters said they knew what to expect Wednesday.

“I was aware of the mock drill as there were continuous announcements in the trains and on platforms about the drill,” said Pinky Jain.

According to Delhi Metro officials, about 1,500 operation and maintenance staff participated in the mock drill.

“The aim of the mock drill was to check how well Metro staff can manage, coordinate and be ready during any kind of disaster, whether it is natural or man-made,” a Delhi Metro official said.

Since 2005, more than 20 mega mock drills have been conducted at Metro stations in which scenarios like terror attacks, derailment and fires were created and trains and stations evacuated.

The 190-km Delhi Metro makes over 2,400 trips per day, ferrying around 1.8 million passengers on working days. By 2016, it expects to complete Phase III, and add about 117 km and carry four million passengers daily.

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