Score: Optimists: 100, Pessimists: -500
On completion of listing India’s numerous problems, the concluding sentence is always: Kuch Nahin Ho Sakta, is desh ka – TRANSLATION: This Country is a lost cause, nothing will ever improve.
Circa 1994, the existing Central and Delhi government proposed the creation of an MRTS system – Mass Rail Transit System. I think they were inspired by a trip to Singapore. Of course, Delhi/India laughed it off as just another wild pipe dream. Then one day construction began. And then certain parts of it were completed. And I think most of Delhi, and all of India which is in the know, is awestruck.
I present to you a government-run project which is being completed AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. A project which has NO COST OVERRUNS. A project which did not get bogged down by local politics or CORRUPTION. The Delhi Metro.
The man responsible for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is a man called K. Sreedharan. He’s a vegetarian who goes to bed by 10.30 pm. And he’s most definitely one of the many unsung heroes responsbile for bringing the Metro to Delhi.
My one and only gripe with the metro is the poor East-West Coverage of South Delhi. Ah well, you can’t have it all. By the end of 2005, Phase-I will be complete. This will make a gigantic difference in the lives of people living in North-Central Delhi (the slighly lower-income part of Delhi, which also has the highest population density. Anybody who has been to Chandni Chowk knows what I mean..!!
Remember, when somebody says that X is not possible in India, just point them in this direction. The trains are brand-spanking new, Made in Korea, air-conditioned, and fully computerised (i.e. driverless).
When the first line opened up to the general public on the 25th of December 2002, there almost a stampede/riot/panic, as people from different parts of North India wanted to get a ride and a peek at the system. Of course, now the crowd control and stuff has been handled, and the metro has been running smoothly.
Of course, the Metro is most likely not even covered by any foreign Media. Within India, the BBC and CNN have not reported anything. The reason for this is obvious – a Metro system is a first-world object. And we all know India is a developing country. We couldn’t possibly show the outside world a different picture of India… which is of course why you need a Voice From a 2.5-World Country to point it out instead…
One final word to the cynics, who say: “give the Metro a year, and it will look like the rest of India – paan-stained and urine-smelling. We shall see, we shall see…