New Delhi: A massive power outage Tuesday afternoon crippled the Delhi Metro for almost two hours for the second time in two days and forced services to run on low frequency for four-and-half hours, impacting tens of thousands of passengers in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. Normal services on all six lines resumed at 5.30 p.m. but witnessed initial chaos.
"The services on all the six lines became normal by 5.30 p.m. We are receiving power from Delhi Transco Ltd on priority basis," a Delhi Metro official said.
The Delhi metro halted its services from 1.05 p.m. to 2.50 p.m. after the Northern Grid collapsed. Partial services were restored from 2.50 p.m.
"We started the partial services at 2.50 p.m. with 10 minutes frequency and by 5.30 p.m. the services were normal with a minimum frequency of 2.5 minutes," a Delhi Metro official said.
Entry to all the 139 Metro stations in Delhi, Gurgaon in Haryana and Noida in Uttar Pradesh was closed after the grid collapsed, following which the trains were stopped and those in tunnels underground brought to the nearest station.
"The immediate concern, after the grid collapsed at 1.05 p.m., was to evacuate passengers in trains running in the underground sections. Nine trains were running underground. They were immediately brought to the nearest station and the passengers were evacuated," the official said.
Soon after the exit and entry gates were closed, large crowds began collecting outside stations, and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards the stations, hurriedly deployed more personnel to control the surge.
"There was tremendous rush at each station as soon as partial services were resumed and many were waiting outside the stations especially at Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate and Central Secretariat. The first few trains were packed, and the doors were not closing due to the rush," a security official said.
There was chaos after the services resumed partially.
"There was a huge crowd at the entry gates with serpentine queues on the platform. People were packed in the coaches. Even after half-an-hour, I could not get into a train," said passenger Katyani Singh about the scene as the first train arrived at the Noida Sector 18 station.
"The trains are jam-packed and there is no space even to stand," said passenger Arpita Singh at the Central Secretariat Metro station.
"The crowd was uncontrollable for the first few hours. The passengers were pushing each other creating a stampede-like situation. The doors of the trains are not closing because of the overflowing crowds. Later by 6 p.m. the crowd was as usual," said a security official, who did not want to be identified.
Thousands, who reached the stations, decided to wait and many switched over to buses and autos.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) said they plied extra buses to meet the rush.
"We usually have 5,000 buses plying in and around Delhi but we had additional 200 buses plying to meet the rush," DTC spokesman Sharad Yadav told IANS.
Delhi Metro operates over 2,700 trips a day, covering about 70,000 km and carrying around 1.8 million passengers on week days.
Over the years, the Metro has become a cheap, convenient and reliable mode of commuting in the capital.