Delhi Metro free rides for women: In a blow to Arvind Kejriwal’s proposal to make Delhi Metro rides free for women, “Metro Man” E Sreedharan has criticised the move. The former Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief E Sreedharan, who was considered as the main architect of the lifeline of Delhi-NCR, has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to agree to the proposal made by the Delhi Chief Minister. He has said that if this Delhi Metro free rides scheme is implemented it would set “alarming precedence”.
According to a PTI report, Sreedharan has written to PM Modi seeking the latter’s intervention in the matter. He also said if Kejriwal-led AAP government in the national capital are “so keen” to help women commuters, it should pay the expenses of their (women’s) travel directly to them instead of making travel free on metro trains.
Sreedharan, who also oversaw Kochi metro project, asserted that ahead of the opening of the first section (Tis Hazari to Shahdara on Red Line) of the Delhi Metro in 2002, he had taken a bold move that no travel concession would be extended to anyone. Sreedharan added that even the then Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee purchased a ticket himself to travel to the station from where the metro’s first section was inaugurated.
In the letter, Sreedharan wrote, “I would very earnestly request you, sir, not to agree to the Delhi government’s proposal of free travel to ladies in the Metro. If the Delhi government is so keen to help lady commuters, I would suggest the Delhi government can pay directly to the lady commuters the cost of their travel rather than make travel free on the Metro.”
The former DMRC chief said that the consequences of this scheme will have an impact on all other metros in the country. He also termed Kejriwal’s argument that the Delhi government would reimburse the revenue losses to the DMRC as “a poor solace”. Sreedharan said that the DMRC is a joint venture of the Centre and the Delhi government. Going by this logic, one shareholder cannot take a unilateral decision to give concession to one section of the community and push the Delhi Metro into inefficiency and bankruptcy, he said. Sreedharan said officials and even the managing director of the DMRC purchase tickets while traveling on the metro on official duties.