Sreedharan replies to Manish Sisodia on free metro ride for women

SuperAdmin Posted on: 2019-06-23 07:38:08 Viewer: 859 Comments: 0 Country: India City: New Delhi

Sreedharan replies to Manish Sisodia on free metro ride for women

New Delhi (Urban Transport News): Renowned technocrat and Metroman Dr. E. Sreedharan has actively joined the battle between Central Government and Delhi Government on free ride scheme to Women passengers in Public Transport in Delhi. He is opposing the Delhi Government's scheme for free travel to women passengers in Delhi Metro. On June 10, Dr. Sreedharan written a letter to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi requesting his personal intervention and not to approve free ride scheme of Delhi Government.

However, Delhi Dy. Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has replied categorically through his letter dated June 14 and tried to explain the benefits of free public transport scheme for Delhi Women. Now Sreedharan replied to Manish Sisodia and opposing the scheme proposed by the Delhi Government. However, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is supporting the free metro ride scheme to be introduced for women passengers and suggested all possible methods to apply the scheme.

Sreedharan, in the letter to Mr. Sisodia, also wrote that instead of providing subsidised travel in the Delhi metro, the Delhi government should utilise the money by helping DMRC to expand the existing network. Dr. E. Sreedharan writes; "Respected Sir, Sub: Free Travel for women in Delhi Metro. -x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x- Your letter dated 14.06.2019 addressed to me has not so far been received, but I got a copy from the media. Sir, my objection is to the very idea of allowing free travel to any sections of the society, till such time loans taken by DMRC (now outstanding about Rs.35 thousand crores) is serviced and paid back. Your Govt. may compensate DMRC for losses due to free travel for women, but successor governments may not. DMRC will not then be able to reverse and charge women commuters.

Further, this would set an alarming precedence to other metros of the country which also carry heavy debt burden. As it is, the speed at which we are constructing metros in the country is at a very slow pace (25 Kms per year compared to 300 Kms in China) all because of fund constrains. If metros show signs of running into a debt trap, no loans will be forthcoming for our future metros. I am not opposing Delhi Government's proposal to bear the cost of free travel for women but objecting only to the concept of free travel in a metro. If we allow free travel for women, what about more deserving categories such as students, disabled persons, senior citizens etc? No metro in the world has extended free travel facility to women exclusively.

If the GNCTD is so concerned about women, my suggestion is to reimburse their cost of travel directly to them rather than allowing free travel in the metro. Please remember any compensation Delhi Govt. pays to DMRC is tax payers' money and tax payer has a right to question why only women are being given free travel. Everybody knows this is an election gimmick to win votes of women in the next assembly election. Sir, your argument that Delhi Metro is utilizing only 65% of its capacity is not at all correct (you are perhaps relying on the DPR forecasts). The system is so heavily crowded during peak hours, even with trains running every 2 minutes, commuters find it difficult to get into trains for want of space. By allowing free travel to women overcrowding will further worsen and lead to mishaps.

If Delhi Government is flush with money why not assist DMRC to procure more trains and construct more lines so that the present overcrowding can get relief. On the other hand, to my knowledge, Delhi Government has delayed giving approval to the 0 phase expansion by 2 years nor come forward to introduce link bus services for the last mile connectivity. This is what the Government should do to reduce road congestion and atmospheric pollution and not free travel to women. By giving free travel, safety of women commuters is not at all enhanced. What about their safety once they step out of the metro and encounter lurking dangers on the road for want of safe link bus services? This is the area your Govt. should spend money and not fund free travel.

I would, therefore, appeal to your Government not to destroy an efficient and successful public transport system such as Delhi Metro for electoral gains. Yours sincerely, (Dr. E. Sreedharan)" Now, it depends up on Delhi Government and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to take next course of action on E. Sreedharan's view on free ride scheme for Women passengers. However, Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi Marlena on Friday criticised Sreedharan for not supporting the Delhi Govt's proposal to offer free rides to women on Delhi metro. She claimed the we were surprised that Sreedharan had written a “political letter”. She claims that the Centre ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is using Sreedharan’s shoulder to convey its message. Opposing the Sreedharan's view on free metro ride scheme for women, Atishi said,

We responded to his [Sreedharan’s] letter because he is the ‘Metro Man’ and is a respectable figure in the country,” she said. “We wanted to make him understand our rationale behind the scheme. It is surprising to see the Metro Man writing such a political letter.

We will be happy if you would like to write your views on Sreedharan's opinion in comment section.

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