Fewer buses on account of CWG 'security' are proving to be daily harassment for commuters
Shivani Chaturvedi | September 28, 2010
Kiran Kohli, a teacher in a Okhla school, was never late to work. But that was only until Monday.
Kohli was left stranded at her Lajpat Nagar bus stop the past two mornings, waiting for bus number 507 - her ride to school.
Not as many 507s are plying the Delhi roads as did before Monday morning. A good 1,600 private Blueline/Whiteline buses have already been phased-out from the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) routes from Sunday. These buses will remain off the roads in the NDMC area till October 19 - till after the Commonwealth Games. Apparently, the unsightly dents in the old buses are not fit for the eyes of a visting Games dignitary or athlete zipping past the slow-moving traffic, in the dedicated CWG lane. Traffic snarls due to "too many buses" on the roads have also been cited as a reason for barring these buses.
“Even if I am at the bus stop by 7.30 a.m., it's no help. I don't get a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus before 8. The private buses are not running on the route. The DTC had promised adequate arrangements on the routes which have been closed to private buses, but today the corporation is running as per its will. On some routes no bus arrangement has been made,” Kohli rues.
This secondary-school teacher is not the only one whom the Games are holding at ransom. Ajay, a student of class 10, catches a bus to the same school from Lodi Road. The last two days have been quite an ordeal - DTC buses came on time but were ferrying twice their capacity - commuters were spilling out of the doors.
Ajay had to let some of the buses go by because there was no space to even board, let alone ride all the way to school. But school timings, rules and punishments scared him enough to finally board the next overcrowded bus. "It is fraught with risk. I was barely hanging on to some one's sleeve with my toes on the foot-board," he says.
Ajay’s friend Jahid comes all the way from Aaya Nagar in Dera Gaon. Two days back, commuting to school from home was the least of his worries - but now , the bus he boards can drop him only as far as Lado Sarai. The tenth-grader now is hassled as much by the daily rigour of getting to school as much as by the impending matriculation exams. "Why is Delhi treating us like this?" asks a petulant Jahid.
I tell him it is a part of the security arrangements for the October Games.
Jahid quickly dismisses the official explanation of the mess.
“Are we a threat to the city or guests or athletes who are coming for the Games?” he asks.
Would the Delhi government venture a reply?
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