Without making public the exact timing of the drill, the DDMA conducted a major drill at 11 metro stations across the National Capital Region

“DDMA [Delhi Disaster Management Authority] drill is in progress. Passengers are requested to follow the instructions given by Metro officials,” a voice blared through the public address system across the Delhi Metro railway network on Saturday morning. Trains came to a complete standstill several minutes before 11 a.m., and the recorded messages kept “apologising for the inconvenience”.

Without making public the exact timing of the drill, the DDMA conducted a major drill at 11 metro stations across the National Capital Region to assess the preparedness of various agencies in responding to emergency situations such as bomb blasts, fire, earthquakes and terrorist strikes. Busy stations like Laxmi Nagar, Nirman Vihar, Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat were flooded with people, as thousands waited for the exercise to end and the trains to start moving again.

For 50 minutes, entry to 11 stations — Karol Bagh, Dwarka-Sector 11, Central Secretariat, Pitampura, Azadpur, Badarpur, Kirti Nagar, Chandni Chowk, Shahdara, Noida City Centre and Guru Dronacharya — was closed as part of standard emergency procedure.

Rajni, a security guard at the Central Secretariat metro station, escorted people out of the premises. “To tackle the ‘bomb blast situation,’ wheelchairs and stretchers were mobilised and first aid was provided to the victims. The whole evacuation was carried out within 10 minutes,” she said.

“The aim of this drill was to check the preparedness of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation staff and coordination between Delhi Metro’s staff, the police, medical staff and the fire brigade in such a scenario,” said a statement issued by the DMRC.

The drills were part of a joint programme conducted by the DDMA and the National Disaster Management Authority.

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