After several futile attempts to decongest the traffic on both sides of New Delhi and Old Delhi stations, the Indian Railways on Monday deployed “private marshals” in place of Delhi Traffic Police and its own unit from the Railway Protection Force (RPF). Drawn from a private security agency, the traffic marshals — successfully harnessed during Delhi Metro construction works — would regulate the vehicular traffic in circulating areas of Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj side of the New Delhi Railway Station. “If it is successful, then similar plan could be put in place around many congested railway stations across the country,” an official said.
A total of 22 marshals have been hired by the Delhi Division of the Railways for a period of six months for this purpose. They would work on different shifts to regulate traffic flow and decongest the circulating areas of both sides of the New Delhi Railway Station. When asked why the services of the RPF and the Delhi Police were done away with, a senior Railways official said both the forces are facing staff crunch, hence the outsourcing method has been put in place on a pilot project basis.
More marshals will be hired after the success of the pilot project and on feedback from various stakeholders, including the passengers or the station users, said the official. “The New Delhi Railway Station handles five lakh passengers daily. With 16 platforms handling 356 trains daily, round-the-clock operations and such huge footfall, the decongestion plan, infrastructure upkeep and cleanliness of the station remain a huge challenge. Hope the marshals, who are trained to handle heavy traffic, would be able to decongest the areas solving the problem both for the station users and general commuters using the road services in the periphery of New Delhi and Old Delhi Railway stations,” said the official.
Northern Railways General Manager RK Kulsheshtra, DRM Delhi RN Singh and New Delhi Station Director Diwakar Jha inspected the traffic area and decided to formally launch the operations of private traffic marshals. “The major problem we used to face in managing the vehicular circulating area are improper use of designated lanes, indiscipline by the private taxi operators, arguments amongst themselves etc,” added the official.