Lucknow Metro’s run on Day One on Wednesday morning was affected as one of its trains developed a snag during the rush hours, leaving more than 100 passengers stranded and triggering a slugfest between the ruling BJP and the Samajwadi Party.
Officials said it was a “technical snag” due to which emergency brakes were applied, which in turn jammed the train.
Mahendra Kumar, Director (Rolling Stock and System) of the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation, said the train had been shunted to a depot for inspection by a technical team.
Otherwise, the Lucknow Metro, formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Home Minister and local MP Rajnath Singh, did good business on the day as eager members of the public took the ride, having waited for long for the Metro service to open in the city.
LMRC officials said more than 20,500 passengers boarded the Metro on the first day. The number could be higher as ticketing details were still to be collated.
As news of the snag on the Metro train spread, hundreds of SP workers, mostly from its Youth Wing, reached the Transport Nagar Metro station and squatted on roads and raised anti-Bharatiya Janata Party slogans.
They said the ruling BJP was in a hurry to take credit for the project otherwise started by the then SP government led by Akhilesh Yadav, but was now refusing to take responsibility for the technical snag that caused great public inconvenience.
After they did not disperse despite repeated warnings, police cane-charged them.
Akhilesh Yadav, during whose tenure as Chief Minister the Metro rail project was conceptualised and took shape, took to Twitter to question the state government on the snag.
The BJP accused Yadav of trying to “hijack” the project, which it said was set rolling by the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.
State BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi claimed the Lucknow Metro could see the light of the day only because Prime Minister Narendra Modi facilitated a loan on easy instalments from the European Investment Bank through central guarantee.
Lucknow residents, however, seemed happy with the Metro launch and maintained that they were okay with such snags in such big projects.
“The good thing is that the Metro service has started and we are sure that traffic congestion on city roads will ease a bit, particularly in Alambagh area,” said Shiv Shukla, a businessman in Shringaarnagar.