In his reply to Manish Sisodia’s letter, ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan has slammed Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister for Aam Aadmi Party’s free metro rides for women and labelled it an election gimmick. He also elaborated on the reasons why the move will prove to be catastrophic for not only Delhi Metro but Metros in other cities without enhancing women’ security in any manner.
In his reply, E Sreedharan has said that the Delhi Metro is running on huge debt and will set a bad precedent for other Metros which are carrying huge debts as well. He cited that metro construction is occurring at a very slow pace due to fund constraints. Therefore, it may not be easy to attract loans the next time if Metros turn into a debt trap. He further commented that no country in the world offers free metro travel only for women.
He stated further, “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, the Delhi Government has delayed giving approval to the 4th phase expansion by 2 years nor come forward to offer link bus services for the last mile connectivity.”
On the matter of safety for women, the ‘Metroman’ said, “By giving free travel, the 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.”
The letter also emphasized that Sreedharan thought it was merely a poll gimmick. At one point, he said, “Everybody knows this is an election gimmick to win votes of women in the next assembly election.” To conclude the reply, he said, “I would, therefore, appeal to your Government not to destroy an efficient and successful public transport system such as Delhi Metro for electoral gains.”
Sreedharan had initially written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi objecting to the Delhi government’s decision. He had said, “One shareholder cannot take a unilateral decision to give concession to one section of the community and push Delhi Metro into inefficiency and bankruptcy.” Manish Sisodia had then expressed his ‘pain’ at the Metroman’s objection and penned a letter of his own.