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Monday, December 06, 2021

Tracking Transition in 2015: Hope kindles across Delhi as the Metro expands

Real estate agents, however, remain sceptical about escalation in property prices.

Written by Sumegha Gulati , MAYURA JANWALKAR , Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi |
Updated: January 1, 2015 1:25:11 pm
For many women, Badli Mor station will mean safe travel. For many women, Badli Mor station will mean safe travel.

‘Once the Metro station opens, I won’t have to start worrying from 3 pm about getting late’ [Badli Mor: Yellow line]

Chandni is a second-year BA honours student at Rajdhani College in Raja Garden. From her home in Haiderpur’s Ambedkar Colony, she now shares a ride with other passengers in a Gramin Seva to the nearest Metro station at Jahangirpuri.

The Metro ride to Raja Garden takes only 15 minutes. But she dreads to take the Gramin Seva at 5-6 pm, while returning home. If she attends meetings of the college theatre society after class, she reaches Jahangirpuri station only by 7-8 pm.

But she is happy that the Metro line is being extended from Jahangirpuri with new stations at Badli Mor, Rohini Sector 18 and Samaypur Badli.

The Badli Mor station is coming up next to her colony. “Every morning while getting ready, I look at the ongoing construction through my window or terrace and hope the line will be ready next year, so I can take it at least in my final year,” she says.

Chandni and three other friends from the colony attend different colleges of Delhi University. “We can spend more time in college or just go out. I won’t have to worry from 3 pm about getting late or haggling with strangers to squeeze into a Gramin Seva,” she says.

The construction of the station and an adjoining parking lot has led to a huge park, used as a dumping ground and a favourite of miscreants, being cleaned up. “People like me who don’t drive have to walk across the park after getting off on the main road to reach home. Afternoon onwards, the park is filled with substance abusers or drunk men,” Namrata Singh, a school teacher, said. She lives in a DDA flat in Shalimar Bagh opposite the new station.

Metro work is also driving real estate growth. Two malls have come up along the route — the MGF Mega Mart and Aggarwal Auto Mall, which houses the North Delhi Passport Seva Kendra.

The Samaypur Badli station, the last on the extended line, lies next to the Badli railway station and an industrial area housing nearly 200 factories manufacturing auto parts and electrical appliances. Factory workers, who frequently travel to Gurgaon and Noida where their head offices are located, are looking forward to the Metro line. “Imagine travelling to Gurgaon twice a week from here in a bus. I am so exhausted, especially in summer, that I barely stay awake in the training sessions,” he said.

The Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Delhi’s largest hub for truck s, is less than a kilometre away from Badli. The Metro line will ease the commute of truck drivers, who now commute to the place in buses.

The new line will also benefit office workers from Haryana, who now take local trains to Badli station and then travel by buses to their offices in central and north Delhi.

Next door to Delhi, they wait for the Metro [Faridabad : Violet line]

Once the Old Faridabad station is operational, many will be happy to skip the auto-rickshaw ride to Badarpur. Once the Old Faridabad station is operational, many will be happy to skip the auto-rickshaw ride to Badarpur.

On a sunny December afternoon, about 3 km from the last station on the under-construction Faridabad Extension Metro line, 24-year-old Naresh Kumar waits at Labour Chowk near Ballabhgarh in search of work. He is one of the many daily-wage labourers who travel to Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida where they can make Rs 300-Rs 400 a day.

“None of the labourers here travel by Metro. Usually, the employers send a pick-up tempo. But when the Metro in Faridabad starts functioning, they can just give us a Metro card,” Kumar said, adding that the Metro would protect them from the rain, the sun and the cold.

Around two months back, Kumar was given the job of pasting tiles on a staircase at Chowri Bazaar Metro station. “There is no Metro beyond Badarpur. So to go to Delhi, I either took the pick-up vehicle sent by the employers or had to change two-three buses to get there.

But after the Metro starts working, we can use it to visit our relatives in Delhi too. It might be cheaper,” Kumar, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, said.

The 13.87 km-long Faridabad extension of the Delhi Metro will add nine stations to Badarpur, currently the last line on Violet Line. The extended line is expected to be operational in May 2015.

Real estate agents, however, remain sceptical about escalation in property prices which, they say, have been stagnant for nearly two years in the south of South Delhi.

Banwarilal Gupta, an agent who has been dealing in Faridabad for 26 years, said, “When the project was announced two or three years ago, properties rates almost doubled here. After the Metro starts operating, there may be a slight spike in rent. The rent for a one BHK, which is now Rs 6,000, may cost up to Rs 8,000. But there will be no remarkable change in the sale and purchase of flats. Eighty per cent of the available flats here are unsold.”

At the mouth of YMCA, the final station on the extended line, is City Centre, a guest house which was forced to shut down owing to Metro construction. “We started the guest house in 2011 and it did reasonable business for a year. But the parking space of the guest house was acquired for Metro construction. That led to a slump in business, Kishorilal Juneja (58) said. He hopes that by mid-2015, the Metro will make good the hardships his business has been through.

Along the upcoming Metro line, there are at least five shopping malls which, Gupta said, are struggling to sustain themselves. “None of these malls have ever been fully functional. Most of them are vacant.  Their businesses may improve after the new line opens.”

Faridabad’s women are especially eager to see the Metro line open. Rani Gupta, a final-year BCom student at IGNOU, said, “I take an auto-rickshaw to the Badarpur station everyday to get to college. Once the new line starts, I can make good on the time I take to find an auto. The closest station — Old Faridabad — will be a five- minute walk from home.”

But property dealer Sareen Kumar complained about the location of the Sarai station — the first on the new line after Badarpur. “People who live in popular localities of Faridabad — Green Park or Sectors 35 and 37 — will find the NHPC Chowk station easier to approach. Sarai is going to be a dead station,” he said.

In heritage line queue: Students, traders, patients, tourists [Old Delhi : Violet line]

Metro tracks over Ring Road near Shalimarbagh. Metro tracks over Ring Road near Shalimarbagh.

Nishtha Singh, a student at the Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), says once the Metro station at ITO opens, she no longer would have to take auto-rickshaw rides at odd hours.

“Whenever I go out with my friends to Hauz Khas or Saket, I get down at Rajiv Chowk station and take an auto to my college. Some stretches on the route are dark and deserted at night. Metro is the safest travel option for women in the city today. The Uber rape clearly shows even private cabs are not safe anymore,” Nishtha, who is from MP and lives in the college hostel, said.

The under-construction heritage corridor of Metro will benefit not only students like her, but also tourists and heritage enthusiasts, office-goers in ITO, traders of Daryaganj, patients visiting Lok Nayak Hospital near Delhi Gate and residents of Jama Masjid area.

The 9-km corridor is an extension of the Violet Line, from Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate with seven stations in between. While the stations at Janpath and Mandi House opened this year, the ones at ITO, Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Lal Qila are under construction.

P K Singh (45), a resident of Mandawali who works at the Delhi Stock Exchange, takes the Metro daily from Nirman Vihar on the Blue Line and gets down at New Delhi station on the Yellow Line. “I travel eight stations in all. If the Delhi Gate Metro opens next year, it will be seven stations from Nirman Vihar. One less station might mean slightly less fare, but for regular travellers like me, even that is significant,” Singh told Newsline.

His colleague Pitambar Sharma is even happier. At present, he boards the Metro at Lajpat Nagar, changing trains at Central Secretariat to reach New Delhi. From there, office is about 1.5 km away, a 15-minute walk. “Once Delhi Gate opens, I won’t need to change trains.”

The new stations will also benefit scores of traders owning shops in Daryaganj. Deepak Arora, manager at Star Books, said suppliers and customers often find it troublesome to negotiate the traffic in the congested Old Delhi to reach Daryaganj book market from Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazaar and New Delhi Metro stations. “The stations are 2-5 km away. The Delhi Gate and Jama Masjid stations will benefit us a lot. This will mean more business,” he said.

The new line will also benefit students. The ITO station is metres away from the School of Planning and Architecture, MAMC and the Andhra Educational Society.

Not everyone, however, is hopeful. Suresh Parekh, a security guard at Delhi Stock Exchange, sets out from his rented house in Badarpur at 7.30 am every day to reach office.

“Metro is faster, more convenient but costly. One-way fare is Rs 22, which is four times more of what I pay to travel on the local train. So, if there are concessions for people like us in the new phase, it would be great,” he said.

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