Arvind Kejriwal, while announcing that the move will not require clearance from the Centre and will be rolled out in 3 months' time, claimed that it will encourage women to take public transport such as Metro which is safer.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to make travel for women in Delhi Metro and DTC as well as cluster buses free of cost has sparked a debate over the advantages that the Delhi government has listed out. According to Kejriwal, the move, if implemented, will result in a shift towards public transport and ensure safety of women. People are flooding social media with questions over how offering free travel to women will address the crucial concern for safety among the same travellers. Kejriwal, while announcing that the move will not require clearance from the Centre and will be rolled out in 3 months’ time, claimed that it will encourage women to take public transport such as Metro which is safer.
However, he himself admitted that the move will not lead to congestion in the Metro as the daily ridership will increase by just one lakh. It means Kejriwal believes that 1 lakh women will leave their current way of commuting and take the Metro to travel. But what about the rest of the women who still prefer to use a cab or private vehicle? The security should be for all not only for those who travel by metro or bus.
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi slammed the chief minister for the decision and said that women in the national capital didn’t ask for a free pass to ride when they voted for Kejriwal. “They had voted for the safe environment promised to them,” she said in a tweet.
Hate to remind this, but Nirbhaya was gang raped in a bus in Delhi. At that time the country didn’t protest over free rides for the women but for making the capital safe for its women to be able to take a bus or metro at any time of the day. Get your priorities right!
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) June 3, 2019
Chaturvedi, who was with the Congress till recently, said that Nirbhaya case happened in a bus in Delhi. “At that time the country didn’t protest over free rides for the women but for making the capital safe for its women to be able to take a bus or metro at any time of the day. Get your priorities right!” she added.
Many on social media have questioned how free travel ensures safe travel. A twitter user Dr Surabhi Bhadauriya writes: “Dear Mr. @ArvindKejriwal ji. We don’t need free rides in metro and buses. We can pay for it. What we can’t pay for is our safety. I remember your promises of marshals in buses and CCTVs in localities. I can not see them anywhere. Please fulfil these first.”
Another twitter user Charu Pragya makes a similar point and says: “Tell me @ArvindKejriwal Ji, how is free travel for women the same as safe travel for women??? If you have so much taxpayer money, why don’t you make metro travel cheaper for everyone, men and women?”
Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee also hit out at Kejriwal and asked him what happened to his promises of CCTV and marshals in buses. “Since last 5 years we hear dat new buses r coming but in fact, DTC fleet is reduced by 1400 buses. Metro is delayed 41st time. Women wud prefer safer, surer & more frequent availability of public transport rather than free rides,” she said.
Nirbhaya was gang-raped in a bus. Whether free or paid, safety for women is not ensured. Get your priorities right & kindly ensure safety of women in the capital first. Free rides may get you votes, but it won’t in any way improve the security concerns of women in Delhi https://t.co/iGVFSiskkF
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) June 3, 2019