NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): On Thursday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced free rides for women on Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Cluster buses starting October 29, Delhiites will have to wait a while longer before the free rides are implemented on the Delhi Metro as well.
Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot said that the implementation of the free ride for women passengers on the Metro has stuck because of a tussle with the Centre regarding nominations of non-bureaucrats to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC’s) board of directors.
“There is no clarity on when we will be able to implement free rides for women the Metro. The matter has been stuck with the union government on the nominations of the board of directors. They (center) have not been supportive of our plan,” Gahlot said on Thursday.
The Delhi government had last month proposed the nominations of non-bureaucrats including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Raghav Chadha and Atishi to the DMRC’s board of directors. Union minister of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) Hardeep Singh Puri had said, “I have a situation where the Board is handled with great competence by the serving secretary in the Ministry. There is no scope in that Board for non-official people.”
Senior officials of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said that after the Delhi CM announced free rides for women in public buses and the Metro in June, an official presentation was made giving options on the ways in which the free rides can be implemented on the Metro. There has not been any progress in the matter since then, officials said.
“The implementation of free rides on the Metro will not be as easy. The primary problem is that the Delhi government holds only 50% stake in the DMRC. It will depend on how the union government reacts to the implementation model,” said a senior DMRC official.
The Delhi Metro in its report before the state government representatives gave two options for the implementation of the scheme. The first option proposed giving pink tokens to women passengers, and in the other dedicated cards and tokens be provided to the beneficiaries. In either of the two implementation models, the DMRC had asked for at least eight months to prepare their system.
Another reason for the delay of the scheme on the Metro is the multiple layers of assessment and approval required. Once an implementation model is finalized between the DMRC and the Delhi government, the proposal will require a nod from the Delhi Metro’s Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) and by the central government.