Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
On Day One of operations, it is a full house all the way; "It's fascinating" and "it's breathtaking"
NEW DELHI: "While five years ago it used to take me almost 50 minutes to travel by road from Kakrola Mor to Uttam Nagar, just 3 km away, today it took me just 40 minutes to travel all the way to Barakhamba Road from Dwarka, 23 km away, by the Metro train and this speaks for itself!'' said an elated Neha Awasthi, a school teacher, as she came out of the shining coach on Delhi Metro's new Barakhamba-Dwarka Line III on its first day of operation on Saturday.
For lakhs of people in the Capital the advent of the new line has come as a dream come true. "It is almost make-believe. It would probably take some time to sink in that now we are simply riding roughshod over parts of the Capital where the traffic used to crawl till yesterday,'' said Nikhil Agarwal of Rama Park in Uttam Nagar who has to travel for work to Connaught Place.
The new section has also made a significant difference to the life of those living in some of the rural areas like Najafgarh. Their travel time to places such as ITO and Connaught Place has been cut down by more than half by the state-of-the-art system that promises to change the way Delhi travels.
The sense of déjà vu was clearly visible among almost all the commuters who packed the trains on the new section on Day One. Besides showing how life is going to change for them in the New Year, the ride in the air-conditioned coaches also gave them the first panoramic view of the overcrowded route they had been taking all these years.
And many regaled in the sights the journey had to offer. "I particularly enjoyed the sight of the giant Hanuman statue at Jhandewalan! It really stands out,'' said 10-year-old Abhishek dressed in his weekend best as he took the Metro with his family from Patel Nagar to Connaught Place.
Others found the elevated section over the Raja Garden flyover on Ring Road -- where the Metro climbs to a height of 17.5 metres -- most fascinating. "It is indeed an engineering feat,'' said Harsh Malhotra of Tilak Nagar, adding that the view from the height was breathtaking. "From here Delhi looks much greener than from down below,'' he quipped.
The ramp between Ramakrishna Ashram Marg and Connaught Place was not felt much by the commuters, despite its 3 per cent steep gradient, but the travel from the elevated section to the underground and vice-versa was "like moving from one world to another in more ways than one'', said young housewife Meena Mehta.
While on New Year's Eve the trains remained crowded with mostly revellers, many said it would be a boon for those who have to travel from West Delhi to East Delhi and vice-versa as the travel time stands greatly reduced. By around 6 in the evening over 1.5 lakh people had travelled on the section and the crowds, as per DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal, were swelling further.