ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Case for Delhi Metro Rail

This is a discussion on the article “Delhi Metro Rail: Beyond Mass Transit” by Pritpal Randhawa (EPW, 21 April 2012). The author basically argues that gentrification is the main motivation for the introduction of a Mass Rapid Transit System in Delhi, because the metro has neither been successful in achieving its stated objectives of reducing traffic congestion and pollution, nor is it climate-friendly. Besides leading to gentrification, the metro is also not an equitable mode of transport due to its fare structure and has evicted the urban poor from their lodgings through the acquisition of land required for its operations.

In the first part of the paper the author concludes that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has failed to reduce congestion and pollution in Delhi, after the evaluation of the compound growth rate of motor vehicles and pollution data, pre- and post-introduction of the metro rail. However, DMRC has approached the issue of congestion from the point of bringing about a modal shift or change in the mode of transportation to the metro in its area of operations, and not the reduction or arrest of growth in motor vehicle traffic in the entire city, which is contingent upon various other factors that DMRC has no influence on. The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi study referred to by the author confirms this aspect and states “Roadway Congestion Index (RCI), i e, ratio of number of vehicles per lane and capacity of lane doesn’t get affected much more by the metro implementation. RCI is not reduced in most cities of the world, except a marginal reduction at Washington DC after introduction of metros”.1 DMRC has never claimed to reduce traffic congestion in the manner the author perceives it.

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