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Please don't give nod to AAP govt's proposal: Metro Man Sreedharan to PM Narendra Modi

He said that once concession is given to one section of commuters, immediate demands will arise from more deserving sections such as students, the differently-abled and senior citizens.

Vandana Ramnani @vandanaramnani1

E Sreedharan, popularly called Metro Man, has written to PM Narendra Modi, urging him not to agree to AAP government's proposed free travel scheme for women in Delhi Metro.

"If Delhi Government wants to provide the benefit, it should transfer the money into their accounts. I would suggest that if Delhi government is keen to help lady commuters, I would suggest Delhi government can pay directly to the lady commuters the cost of travel rather than make travel free on the Metro.

"If ladies are given free travel concession on Delhi Metro it would set an alarming precedence to all other metros in the country. The argument of Delhi government that revenue levies would be reimbursed to DMRC is a poor solace. The amount involved is over Rs 1,000 crore per annum today. This will go on increasing as the metro network expands and with further fare hikes on the metro. Succeeding governments will not be able to pay this subsidy," he wrote in the letter.

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He said there was in-principle decision not to give concessions even when services started way back in 2002.

"Even then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee purchased a ticket himself from the ticket counter for his travel from Kashmere Gate to Shahdara when he came to inaugurate the first section of Delhi Metro on December 2002. The PM’s gesture sent a powerful message to all that no concession whatsoever would be given to any section of the society on Delhi Metro till the loans are repaid," he said.

He said that once concession is given to one section of commuters, immediate demands will arise from more deserving sections such as students, the differently-abled and senior citizens.

When contacted, Sreedharan's office refused to comment.

About 30 lakh passengers travel by Delhi Metro every day and the number of women commuters is around 30 percent. The total number of bus passengers in the Capital city is around 40 lakh out of which 20 percent are women. The cost to the exchequer for these free rides is expected to touch Rs 700 to Rs 800 crore

Transportation experts say that it is a welcome step from the affordability point of view but while transport needs to be cheap, it doesn't necessarily have to be free and that too only for a section of society - women.

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First Published on Jun 14, 2019 06:01 pm
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