DELHI (Metro Rail News): “Metro Man” E. Sreedharan’s got a respond from The Aam Aadmi Party on Friday for public opposition to the Delhi government proposal for free rides for women, stated that the measure would not hurt Delhi Metro since the state authorities would bear the financial burden.
The Former Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Sreedharan and now a principal adviser to the Delhi and Lucknow Metro had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to agree to the AAP government’s proposal on June 10.
He wrote that Sir, when the first section of the Delhi Metro was to be opened, I had taken a firm and conscious decision that no one would be given any travel concession.
The 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 Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The Delhi government had announced it would fund free public transport, including Metro rides, for women, last week. The Metro authorities said this week the scheme could be implemented in six to eight months and would cost the state a little over Rs 1,500 crore and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has agreed to.
Sreedharan wrote, “now if ladies are to be given free travel concession in Delhi Metro, it would set an alarming precedent (for) all other Metros in the country,”
He also wrote that, “The argument of Delhi Govt that the revenue losses would be reimbursed to DMRC is a poor solace…. One shareholder cannot take a unilateral decision to give concession to one section of community and push Delhi Metro into inefficiency and bankruptcy.”
Saurabh Bharadwaj Chief AAP spokesperson said: “We want to assure Mr Sreedharan that Delhi Metro will not suffer any losses since the Delhi government will reimburse the agency for free rides taken by women, thus eliminating the possibility of inefficiency” on Friday.
“The purpose of this scheme is to increase the participation of women in public transport and public spaces. Making travel free for women will encourage more ridership in public transport, and with more women present in buses and metros, they will become safer spaces” Saurabh Bharadwaj added.
Sreedharan got a reply from Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, saying the Delhi Metro was carrying an average of 25 lakh passengers a day, at “less than 65 per cent” of capacity, which was a “pretty bad performance for a company”. He added: “By Delhi Metro’s own admission, free ridership for women will increase women’s ridership by 50 per cent.”
Metro fares had almost been doubled in 2017.