In A Letter To PM Modi, E. Sreedharan Opposes Delhi Govt's Proposal To Give Free Rides To Women
Former Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) chief E. Sreedharan has opposed the Delhi government’s proposal to give free rides to women commuters saying that it will lead to inefficiency and bankruptcy.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sreedharan, also known as the Metro Man, said that since DMRC is a joint venture company with the Delhi government and the Union government having equal shareholding, a one-sided decision to give concession would affect the finances of the company adversely.
Sreedharan’s Letter To PM Modi
“One shareholder cannot take a unilateral decision to give concession to one section of the community and push Delhi Metro into inefficiency and bankruptcy,” Sreedharan wrote in the letter.
He further said that after stepping down as Managing Director of DMRC in 2011, he had decided not to intervene in its operation, but the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government forced him to step in.
“Sir, when the first section of the 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 and will generate surplus to repay loans,” Sreedharan wrote in the letter.
Further rationalising his opinion on the free ride, the Chief architect of DMRC, who is now its Principal Adviser said, “Now if ladies are to be given free travel concession in Delhi Metro, it would set an alarming precedence for all other metros in the country. The argument of Delhi government that the revenue losses would be reimbursed to DMRC is a poor solace.The amount involved is about Rs 1,000 crore per annum today. This will go on increasing as the metro network expands and with further hikes on the metro.”
He also drew the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that if women metro users were given free rides, it would create a ripple effect and more deserving travelers like students, physically-challenged people and senior citizens would demand similar concessions, and metros across the country would also resort to this populist major.
Meanwhile, responding to the letter, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that Mr Sreedharan has given his opinion on the issue apparently by not understanding it from a proper perspective. Sisodia requested the Metro Man to reconsider his view and let the government to go ahead with the progressive step.
In a letter to Sreedharan, the Deputy CM said that he was pained to read the letter sent to the Prime Minister. After the third phase of DMRC, its services were designed to have a capacity of 40 lakh ridership per day but it had remained less than 20 lakh.
Even after giving free rides to women commuters, the daily ridership would increase by just three lakh passenger, Sisodia explained in the letter.
The Aam Aadmi Party government has recently announced the proposal to give free rides to women commuters on buses and metro trains. The government proposal said that it will buy around ten lakh coupons in bulk from DMRC on a daily basis and provide them to women commuters.