July 15, 2011 2:24:47 am
When Anand Kapoor boarded the Metro at Anand Vihar on Thursday to head for work,he noticed two unusual things. As opposed to an empty coach that he would find daily in the Delhi Metro,it was packed to capacity; and most commuters seemed excited.
These were the residents of Ghaziabad,who availed the Metro services for the first time. The Blue Line reached out to Ghaziabad on Thursday,putting two more stations Vaishali and Kaushambi on the Meto map.
Usually I would board a bus from Vaishali to Anand Vihar,which takes half an hour, said Salim Khan,a resident of Ghaziabad who works at a garment shop in Connaught Place. Now,the entire journey to my workplace takes me that much time. My travel time has been cut by half, said an elated Khan.
Other commuters share his enthusiasm,with many enjoying the sight of the cramped lanes of Ghaziabad zooming past below from the overhead Metro line.
Gazing down,Ravi Sharma,who has a shop in Chawri Bazaar,said,Normally,Id be stuck in those narrow lanes. Now,all I have to do is take a cycle-rickshaw to the Metro station and I can travel in air-conditioned comfort,instead of being on dusty roads.
For commuters like Apurva Mehta,the Metro also means cutting down on travel cost. Earlier,I had to pay at least Rs 50 for an auto ride to Anand Vihar station. Now,I can walk to Vaishali station. From there,I pay just Rs 18, Mehta said.
The extension of the line has also meant increased safety for travellers,especially women. Shambika Seth,a student living in Kaushambi,said,My parents used to be worried when I returned at night. But the Metro is safe and runs till late at night.
The development has also pleased real estate agents in Ghaziabad,who feel that the Metro service will trigger a major boom in their sector.
Sagar Mehta,proprietor,Sagar Builders,said,Ghaziabad lost out to places like Gurgaon and Noida because of lack of convenient connectivity to Delhi. But I expect that there will be a lot more interest in Ghaziabad now.
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