Delhi Metro is the most favoured mode of urban transportation system in the national Capital. However, the existing design and infrastructure of the Delhi Metro makes it an ideal target for miscreants’ activities.
Contrary to all notions, Delhi Police for Metro services have registered a nearly three-fold hike in crimes against Metro commuters. In 2015, the figure was 3,214. In 2016, however, the figure rose to 9,766.
To curb criminal incidents and address grievances of Metro users, Delhi Police have established police booths inside the Metro station since 2014. The presence of police booths at Metro stations is aimed at working as a deterrent and helping in checking crimes, assault and harassment victims inside the Metro and the station premises. However, most of the booths lie vacant in many cases.
In a reality check, Millennium Post found that Metro police booths exist at Tilak Nagar, Kashmere Gate, ITO, Central Secretariat, Dilshad Garden, Shahdara and Rohini West stations, but none of them have police personnel on duty, even during peak hours.
Surprisingly, strategically important locations such as Patel Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, Udyog Bhawan and AIIMS are also on the list of Metro stations that have police booths but no staff deputed to help commuters.
“Somebody stole my phone inside the Metro. I informed a CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel at Ramakrishna Ashram Marg station and he told me to go to the police booth. But it was empty. So, again I went to the CISF personnel and he told me to visit to Rajiv Chowk Metro station,” said Dr Mayur Chandekar, a regular commuter. He added: “Somehow I found police personnel at Rajiv Chowk metro police booth after checking four booths in different Metro stations.”
A police source said: “We only have 225 personnel under the railway unit of Delhi Police, while our demand is of 2,000 personnel. Female police staff are in acute shortage – four sub-inspectors, two assistant sub-inspectors, three head constables and 62 constables are spread over 160 metro stations.”
“We have asked our department to increase the number of police personal at the Metro police station. But due to shortage in police strength, we are not getting more cops,” said a senior police official.
Moreover, low police patrolling and absent CCTV cameras and police posts around the stations are some major safety concerns for thousands of commuters.
“We commute through the Metro because it is a relatively safe and fast mode. But, the scenario outside the Metro station is entirely different.
Inside the Metro premises, CISF keep a vigilant eye on every commuter. But outside the station, local police is negligible,” says Manoj Sharma, an employee of DLF and regular commuter from Delhi to Gurugram.