Sreedharan Slams Delhi Government’s Announcement Of Providing Free Travel To Women In Metros

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New Delhi: Former Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief E Sreedharan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his “personal intervention” urging him to not agree to the proposal adding that the decision to give concession to one section of the community will push Delhi metro into “inefficiency and bankruptcy”. He slammed the Delhi government’s announcement of providing free travel to women in metros and busses.

Sreedharan, in his letter dated June 10, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, said he had taken a firm decision to not intervene in the working of the Delhi metro after stepping down from the post of managing director. “The recent decision of Delhi government to extend free travel concession to ladies in Delhi metro has forced me to break this decision,” he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on June 3 had announced women will soon get to travel free in metro and state-run buses. Kejriwal said the free ride offer will be optional, women who can afford it will be able to pay for the ride.

Sreedharan warned this move would also increase the burden of DMRC for the repayment of Japan International Cooperation Agency’s loan.

“When the first section of Delhi metro was to be opened, I had taken a firm and conscious decision that no one would be given any travel concession on Delhi Metro. This stand was taken to maximize revenues so that metro fares could be kept low so as to be affordable to ordinary citizens at the same time metro would make sufficient operational surpluses to pay back the loans taken from JAICA. This stand of Delhi metro was greatly appreciated by all including the then PM Shri Atal Bihar Vajpayee ji...even officers and staff including the managing director of DMRC, when they travel on the metro on official duties purchase tickets,” he said.

Union minister of state (independent charge) for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Puri had last week said the Delhi government had no viable plan on implementing the scheme adding that the state government had made the announcement without drafting a proposal.

Hindustan Times on Friday reported that DMRC, in its proposal submitted to the Delhi government, stated that implementing the scheme would result in an annual loss of around Rs 1560 crore, out of which Rs 11 crore will be incurred in its feeder buses.

“If ladies are to be given free travel concession in Delhi metro, it would set an alarming precedence to all other metros in the country. The argument of Delhi government that the revenue losses would be reimbursed to DMRSC is a poor solace. The amount involved is about 1000 crore per annum today,” Sreedharan wrote.

 

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