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Chaos in packed Metro

Metro Railway on Thursday failed the pressure test yet again after a rally, coupled with rain, led to heavy passenger rush underground.

The overload caused trains to halt longer than usual at stations, which in turn led to overcrowding. Sources said around 6.5 lakh people took the Metro on Thursday compared with the usual daily passenger count of around six lakh.

Passengers of at least one train were asked to get off, while station staff “pushed” commuters into other trains as the doors refused to close.

A Dum Dum-bound AC train was stranded at Rabindra Sadan for 10 minutes after a snag was detected in one of its doors. The train arrived at the station at 4.59pm and left at 5.05pm, officials said. Some passengers, however, said the train remained stuck till 5.10pm.

Other trains too made longer halts. “A train normally stops at a station for 20 seconds. But this afternoon, the average halt at each station was of two minutes,” said Protyush Ghosh, the deputy general manager of Metro Railway.

As trains remained stranded at stations, passengers kept getting in. Such was the rush that the doors wouldn’t shut. “We deployed employees as ‘pushers’ at various stations,” Ghosh said.

Kalyani Ghosh, 65, a homemaker from Patuli who had taken the snag-hit AC rake from Kavi Subhash station to go to Esplanade for Puja shopping, started feeling suffocated.

Another passenger, Supratik Sarkar, who boarded the same train at Kalighat, said a few passengers were dragged out of the train. “Our staff and RPF had to ask some passengers to alight as the doors were not closing,” the Metro deputy general manager said.

Two pickpockets, who had made the most of the overcrowding, were arrested at Maidan station and three mobile phones seized from them.