New Delhi: Delhi government’s ‘free metro rides for women’ scheme has raised the hackles of former Chief of Delhi Metro, E. Sreedharan. The ‘Metro Man’ has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard and reportedly urged the PM to “not agree” to the proposal making metro rides free for women commuters in Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi recently said it would make metro and bus rides in Delhi free for women. Sreedharan, who is currently a principal advisor to the DMRC, has said that the Prime Minister’s “personal intervention” was needed in the matter. It may be noted that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is an equal partnership between the Delhi government and the Centre.
In his letter to the Prime Minister on June 10, Mr. Sreedharan wrote that one shareholder couldn’t take a one-sided decision to give concession to one section of the community and push Delhi Metro into disorganization and bankruptcy.
He further wrote that he had decided to not intervene in the functioning of the Delhi Metro, but the Delhi government’s move compelled him to come forward.”
In the letter to the PM he said when the first section of the Delhi Metro was to be opened, he had taken a firm and informed decision that no one would be given any travel concession on Delhi Metro. This stand was taken to maximize revenues so that Metro fares could be kept low so as to be affordable to ordinary citizens and at the same time Metro would make sufficient operational surpluses to pay back the loans taken from JAICA.
He added that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also bought a ticket when he went to open the first section of the Metro on December 23, 2002.
“Now, if ladies are to be given free travel concession in Delhi Metro, it would set an alarming example to all other Metros in the country. The argument of Delhi Govt that the revenue losses would be compensated to DMRC is a poor solace. The amount involved is about 1,000 crores per annum today. This will go on growing as the Metro network develops and with further fare hikes on the Metro,” he wrote.