Delhi Metro commuters were once again greatly inconvenienced on Saturday when on directions from the Delhi Police the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation closed down three of the stations – Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan and Patel Chowk – for around three hours in order to keep the supporters of the Jan Lokpal Bill away from the area around Parliament where the matter was being debated.
The stations were closed between 4 p.m. and 7-05 p.m. to prevent social activist Anna Hazare's supporters from reaching Parliament. The Central Secretariat station was open for interchange between the lines, but commuters were not allowed to enter or exit the station.
While regular announcements were made on Line 2 (Jahangirpuri to HUDA city Centre) about the stations being closed, there were no announcements on Line 6 (Central Secretariat to Badarpur) about the Central Secretariat being closed.
Though traffic was not affected because of weekend, commuters heading for these three destinations were inconvenienced. “I had to come to my office on Parliament Street, and both the stations – Central Secretariat and Patel Chowk – from where I could have walked, were closed. I eventually had to get off at Race Course station and come back by auto rickshaw,” said IT professional Jaidev Ganeshan, who had boarded a train from Chawri Bazar station. Anoop Sharma, who works as security staff near Parliament Street, had to walk from the Rajiv Chowk to his workplace.
Police presence was high at the Central Secretariat station, while Patel Chowk station wore a deserted look, with the lights switched off until 7-10 p.m. The entry gates to these stations were also closed for commuters.
“This is no way to prevent people from going to a certain place. The Delhi Metro should not close down stations without prior information. There were hardly any protestors getting off at these stations. All that the closing down of stations achieved was causing inconvenience to public,” said 53-year-old Rakesh Lathwal, who had to pick up his car at the Patel Chowk Metro station.
Delhi Transport Corporation buses were also parked on Parliament Street outside Transport Bhawan and PTI Building by the Delhi Police to ferry away protestors courting arrest. “The protestors marched in huge numbers along the street and were not allowed to move towards Parliament. Several went away peacefully while those who resisted were taken away in buses. There was no violence,” said a security personnel stationed at Parliament Street.