AAP leader and Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia is reported ‘pained’ over Metro Man E Sreedharan’s unequivocal rejection of AAP’s latest stunt of providing free Metro rides for women. Sreedharan had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to “not agree” with the Aam Aadmi Party’ proposal for giving free rides to women commuters on public transport. Now, Sisodia has written a letter to Sreedharan with a confused response as to why this latest dole by the AAP government is a good move.
Manish Sisodia in his letter has said that he is ‘pained and surprised’ that the former DMRC chief has opposed the State government’s move to let women travel on Metro for free.
The Deputy Chief Minister also claimed, “By Delhi Metro’s own admission, free ridership for women will increase women ridership by 50 per cent. Delhi Metro should celebrate this rather than oppose it. Even after providing free ridership for women, DMRC daily ridership will go up by only three lakhs on a daily basis, which will still be much less than the designed capacity of 40 lakhs.”
After saying that the low ridership of DMRC is because of the high fares, Sisodia goes on to say that this move is to improve the safety of women and encourage them to use public transport. The letter says that this will open up “immense opportunities” for women and also be a positive step towards controlling pollution by encouraging women to use public transport.
Reportedly, Sisodia also said that the Delhi government plans to buy bulk coupons and distribute it among women and hence, this would be cost the DMRC anything extra, financially.
Sisodia’s response to Sreedharan seems confused, to say the least. He cannot seem to decide whether he wishes to tackle pollution with this move, increase DMRC ridership or provide safety for women.
It is still unclear how providing free Metro rides for women would increase their security in any manner. The AAP government has failed to install CCTV cameras in the Union Territory, that would have actually benefitted women and impacted their security.
Earlier this month, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that women will be allowed to travel free of cost in all DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses, cluster buses and metro trains in Delhi. He said that this has been to ensure that women can have safe travel experience and access modes of transport which they were not able to do so due to high prices.
E Sreedharan, in his letter to the Prime Minister dated June 10 wrote, “One shareholder cannot take a unilateral decision to give concession to one section of the community and push Delhi Metro into inefficiency and bankruptcy.”
E Sreedharan had played a key role in setting up the Delhi Metro. Presently a principal advisor to the DMRC, Sreedharan had stepped down as managing director of DMRC in 2011.