Office-goers in National Capital Region may face difficulty on Monday as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has announced that it will shut all stations outside Delhi from late on Sunday until further notice in view of the Jat protests that have been going on for a while.
The Jat community has reportedly threatened to intensify protests from Monday demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. Delhi Police have, therefore, asked the DMRC to shut all stations and terminate all trains at the last station on all lines in Delhi from 11.30 pm on Sunday.
At least 12 stations in central Delhi will also remain closed from 8 pm on Sunday until further orders by Delhi Police.
"DMRC has been directed by the Delhi Police to terminate all trains at Delhiborder w.e.f 11.30 pm on March 19. It is therefore requested that necessary arrangements may kindly be made for maintenance of law and order at these stations," stated the letter, which DMRC wrote to the police chiefs of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad.
"All entry gates of all Metro stations outside Delhi shall remain closed from 11.30 pm on March 19 till closure of arrangements by Delhi Police," it added.
The 12 stations that will be closed are Rajiv Chowk, Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg, Janpath, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, RK Ashram Marg, Pragati Maidan, Khan Market and Shivaji Stadium.
According to reports, security arrangements have been put in place at all stations that will be shut down from Sunday night since there may be chaos on Monday morning.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has been instructed to stay alert and make sure quick reaction teams are deployed at all the closed stations.
DMRC staff has also been instructed not to sell tickets. The interchange facility will be available at the Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat stations.
However, commuters are worried about travelling around the city in the absence of Metro services. Citizens coming from the airport will also face trouble since they will not be able to exit from Shivaji Stadium station.
"Whenever protests happen, Metro is the best and safest option to travel. If they shut the Metro, how will we commute? There will be violence and traffic jam on the roads and Metro too will not be available," Neha Singh, who travels to her office in Gurgaon from Preeti Vihar, told the Hindustan Times.
"I usually return in the evening from airport and take an auto from Shivaji Stadium to go to my house in Gole Market. Now, I will have to go all the way to New Delhi station and come from there. The roads will be closed so I think I will have to skip my work on Monday," Rakesh Singh, who works for an airline at the Delhi airport, told the daily.