New Delhi: Weeks after former Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief wrote to the Prime Minister, seeking his intervention in the Delhi government‘s proposed plan to make public travel free for women- and subsequently getting a rebuttal from Manish Sisodia, the ‘Metro Man’ has spoken again.
In a letter addressed to Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, E Sreedharan outlined what he is opposed to in the Aam Aadmi Party-led government’s offer exclusively for women in the national capital.
Sreedharan started with, “My objection is to the very idea of allowing free travel to any sections of the society, till such time loans taken by the DMRC is paid back. Your govt may compensate DMRC for losses due to free travel for women, but successor governments may not…”
He reiterated that this may set a dangerous precedent in other cities with metros. “I’m 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 the metro…”
He further asked why the service is being extended to women exclusively when there are weaker sections of the society who could benefit from the waiver, like senior citizens, students, and disabled persons.
He addressed the elephant in the room by mentioning that this “is an election gimmick to win votes of women in the next Assembly election.”
Furthering his tirade, E Sreedharan said, “Your argument that the Delhi Metro is only utilizing 65% of its capacity is incorrect… By allowing women free travel to women overcrowding will further worsen and lead to mishaps.”
He offered a suggestion in the end when he urged the Delhi Government to instead assist the DMRC in procuring more trains if it is so flush with funds.
“By giving free travel, the safety of women commuters is not all enhanced, what about their safety once she steps out of the metro station and encounters lurking dangers on the road?”
The former DMRC chief signed off his letter to the Deputy CM by urging the Delhi government to not destroy “efficient public transport for electoral gains”.