‘Metro Man’ Sreedharan writes to PM against AAP’s free rides for women bid

E. Sreedharan.  

Former Delhi Metro chief E. Sreedharan, popularly called Metro man for his contribution towards setting up the Delhi Metro, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him not to agree to the Delhi government’s proposal to make travel free for women commuters. 

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi had recently announced its decision to give free travel facility to women passengers on buses and Metro trains. As the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is an equal partnership between the Delhi government and the Centre, Mr. Sreedharan, a principal advisor to DMRC, said the Prime Minister’s “personal intervention” was required.

“One shareholder cannot take a unilateral decision to give concession to one section of the community and push Delhi Metro into inefficiency and bankruptcy,” he wrote in his letter of June 10. 

After being an instrumental part of the Delhi Metro since its inception, Mr. Sreedharan stepped down as managing director in 2011. He wrote that he had decided not to intervene in the working of the Delhi Metro after stepping down, but the Delhi government’s decision had forced him to come forward.

“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...” At the same time, Metro would make sufficient operational surpluses to pay back loans taken from JICA, Mr. Sreedharan wrote.

He recalled that the then Prime Minister Atal Bijari Vajpayee bought a ticket for himself when he went to inaugurate the first section of the Metro on December 23, 2002.

“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 Govt that the revenue losses would be reimbursed to DMRC is a poor solace. The amount involved is about ₹1,000 crores per annum today. This will go on increasing as the Metro network expands and with further fare hikes on the Metro,” he wrote.

He said other sections of commuters, including the “more deserving” like students, the disabled and senior citizens, as well as other Metros in the country would raise similar demands if Delhi's proposal for free travel for women becomes a reality. 

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 7:53:50 AM |

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