Staff Reporter

Chaos, jostling crowds pinpointed as reasons for the incident in the report submitted on Tuesday

The incident involved train No. 202 running between Central Secretariat and Jehangirpuri

DMRC to post a person at crowded stations to raise manual alarm in case of emergency

NEW DELHI: A high-level committee set up to probe the incident where a customer facilitation agent was dragged from one metro station to another has absolved the driver of the train of all blame. While no individual has been blamed for the accident, chaos and jostling crowds have been pinpointed as the reasons for the incident and for the train driver failing to notice a man clinging on to the coach.

The committee set up by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has in its report submitted on Tuesday said it did not find any mistake on the part of the train operator in the incident, which occurred on Friday at the Rajiv Chowk station.

In a statement, the DMRC claimed the incident occurred at the crowded Rajiv Chowk platform which records 2.5 lakh footfalls every day.

“The incident involved train No. 202 running between Central Secretariat and Jehangirpuri and the door involved was door number DRR 4. In this instance, the door reopened three times since there was massive crowding of passengers who were blocking the door closure. The metro doors are programmed to reopen three times whenever an obstruction beyond 15 mm blocks its way. After three attempts, the door can only be closed by pushing the door leaves physically,” the statement said.

After studying the footage from closed-circuit television sets mounted at the station, the committee stated: “After the third attempt at closure, the door would not have closed and remained open and the train would not have started. But unfortunately some person from the crowd physically pushed the door leaf from outside, manually forcing the door shut on the wrist of the CFA.”

The report further states that the wrist of CFA was 26 mm in width and was caught between the doors since they were manually closed, the driver of the train did not receive any warning about an obstruction in the door.

According to the report, what finally led to the train driver not responding to the distress was that he did not get the obstruction warning, nor could he decipher the alarm raised by the passengers, as there was too much chaos.

“The door obstruction notice on his driving panel disappears if someone physically pushes the door closed. And even after the train started with the CFA hanging outside some passengers pressed the passenger emergency alarm button inside the train and the driver responded to the same, but there was chaos in the coach and the communication from the passengers was not clear as too many passengers were shouting/speaking simultaneously,” the statement further said.

The DMRC has not identified any persons for physically closing the doors.

“There was huge crowd near that one door, which is close to the escalator. If people had spread themselves out, there would have been no crowding at one door,” said DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal. The jostling crowd has also been blamed for making the train stop for longer than its scheduled halt. Instead of the usual 25 seconds at Rajiv Chowk, on that particular day it had to make a halt of 1 minute and 28 seconds.

The committee while applauding Mr. Jaiswal’s “great courage and presence of mind in avoiding being hit by any object between the Rajiv Chowk and New Delhi stations”, said he “should have stayed away from the door during the door closing operation”.

To avoid a repetition of the accident, all CFAs are being retrained and have been asked to exit the moment the train doors start closing and keep a safe distance from such closing doors.

Passengers too have been advised to keep away and not obstruct doors which are closing. “ In addition, on the recommendation of the enquiry committee, the DMRC has decided to post a special person at crowded stations such as Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate who will be placed near the train operator cabs near the platform and his job will be to raise a manual alarm in case of emergency. A long buzzer will also be played on the platform before the departure of trains at these stations. The DMRC will also start a massive publicity campaign to educate the public on such hazards and the need to be more careful in this regard,” said Mr. Dayal, listing the precautions the company will now take.