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Delhi & Metro: How life has changed

, December 1, 2014, 0 Comments

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As a child I was born and brought up in Kerala. I had my education in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. I joined central government service in 1980. I have remained in the same service ever since. From the end of 1980 till date I have been a resident of Delhi. It is time to look back and see how life has changed in the last 35 years.

My wife when I first met her used to work in a place called Bhiwani in Haryana. The bus journey from Delhi to Bhiwani used to cost about Rs 10 at that time. Today the same bus journey would cost about Rs 100 – again an increase of ten fold.

Being an economist I cannot but avoid comparing these trends with the trends in the consumer price index. The Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (base 1982=100) has gone up about 10 times during the period since 1982. Thus it can be noted that over a period of about 30 years since the early 1980s the price rise in the country has been about 10 times.

A major change one observes in Delhi is the development of metro services. These services have dramatically transformed transport services in Delhi. Since I don’t drive I have always been dependent on public transport services. During my initial years in Delhi the chief mode of transport for me used to be either the bus or the auto rickshaw. Today if I have to go anywhere in Delhi I first enquire whether the destination is close to a metro station. If it is close to a metro station I am all too eager to undertake the journey. Otherwise I try to avoid or make excuses.

The metro has dramatically changed lifestyles for the people of Delhi. By metro we can travel in air-conditioned comfort and avoid delays arising out of traffic jams. The metro has also imbibed a new culture to the people of Delhi. Inside metro one finds young people eager to offer seats to ladies and senior citizens. This was not earlier the case when travelling by bus. Also while boarding an escalator at the metro station one finds the public more disciplined and standing in queue – a culture unknown to Delhi in earlier days. One also finds the metro trains and metro station maintained clean unlike our buses, bus stations, trains and railway stations. The metro is also making a great contribution to the capital city’s economy and business prospects.

I see an overall improvement in the standard of living of the people of Delhi during the last 35 years. People who used to own two wheelers now own motor cars. People you used to travel by train today make a lot of their journey by air.

During my early years in Delhi whenever I visited my home state of Kerala I used to travel by train. An air journey always appeared to be beyond my reach at that time. Today whenever I go to Kerala I travel by air. Today I have started viewing the 48 hour train journey to Kerala spending two nights in the train as a horror experience.

During my early days in Delhi foreign travel was considered unaffordable unless paid for by the government. During the last two years (after my retirement from government service) I have made two pleasure trips abroad along with my wife – one to Singapore and another to Dubai.

During the last 35 years Delhi has been transformed dramatically. Thirty years back while it was a rarity to find a flyover today we find them all over the place. The metro revolution has transformed Delhi’s transport system beyond recognition. The improvement in transport facilities has occurred side by side with increase in the number of cars on Delhi’s roads. The increase in cars have caused increase in pollution levels and choked Delhi’s roads leading to frequent traffic jams and increase in travel time.

Delhi ultimately is a concrete jungle. Most people who live here would have preferred not to do so but for the employment opportunities it offers. Life in smaller cities will be more enriching and rewarding for the common folk except for the very rich. But no small city in Delhi offers the facilities and opportunities which Delhi does. You are in here and can’t easily get out.