After a technical snag on Delhi Metro’s Red Line disrupted services for several hours and left thousands of passengers stranded Friday, Transport Minister Gopal Rai held a review meeting with senior officials Saturday and decided to cancel the leaves of all Metro employees for the rest of the odd-even period. The second phase of the government’s pollution-control plan started Friday.
The cancellation of Delhi Metro personnel’s leaves is part of the government’s efforts to ensure that public transport services across the capital function without a hitch Monday. That day — when many offices and some schools will reopen after a long weekend — may turn out to be a litmus test of odd-even implementation.
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Rai, however, pointed out that round one of odd-even had also started on a Friday and the Monday after that had been touted as the “real test” of the road-rationing plan. The minister said this Monday, the policy would continue to be implemented successfully.
He also addressed concerns of parents who have to drop and pick up their children from schools during the odd-even period. While vehicles carrying children in school uniforms are exempt from the scheme, there is no provision to exempt the vehicles once they are on their way back after dropping students or on their way to school to pick them up. “Many schools were open today and I visited some of them. I know some parents are already making preparations for Monday,” said the minister.
“Some of them have started carpooling while some are using their motorcycles instead of cars. No one has opted to send their children in school buses,” added Rai. In the first phase of the policy, held between January 1 and 15, schools were shut due to winter vacations.
On Monday, personnel from transport department’s enforcement wing, as well as district magistrates, sub-divisional magistrates and tehsildars will be deployed on Delhi’s streets to nab errant motorists, said Rai.
Special teams will be deployed at six crucial Metro stations to deal with issues like delays, he said. “We will deploy a special team at intersection stations such as Rajiv Chowk, Central Secretariat, Kirti Nagar, Vishwavidyalaya and Kashmere Gate,” said Rai. A five-member team has also been constituted to deal with technical issues in Metro operations, he said.
He added that three special trains between Huda City and Samaypur Badli and two trains between Faridabad and ITO will also start plying. “If commuters face any trouble, they can call on the helpline — 155370 — and the task force will help,” he said.
According to Traffic Police, 678 motorists were issued challans for violations by Delhi Police till 8 pm Saturday. The transport department’s enforcement wing has issued 324 challans.