Plans on to make metro, bus travels free for women in Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during a meeting. File  

With the Assembly election due next year, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is considering to make metro and bus travels free for women in Delhi. The proposal is “to encourage women to use public transport”.

At a public meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also said his government is in touch with the city’s power regulator to bring down the fixed charge component of electricity bill.

“The government is considering to waive fare for women in DTC buses and Delhi Metro to encourage them to use public transport in view of their safety. An announcement in this regard will be made on June 3,” the Chief Minister said at a public meeting in New Delhi.

A Delhi government official said Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has already taken meetings to discuss various aspects of fare-waiver to women in all public transport buses – run by DTC and DIMTS – and Delhi metro.

However, Transport Department officials point out that while allowing free travel in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses run by the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal System (DIMTS) may not be difficult, it will be “challenging” to do so in Metro trains.

The Delhi government and the Centre are 50:50 equity partners in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

An official pointed out that the Delhi government and the Centre’s Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry have not been on the same page over several issues related to metro, including fare hike and Phase-IV of the Metro network.

“Besides other factors such as technical and financial feasibility of such a move, the persisting disagreements between the two sides may also play a crucial role in going ahead with the proposal for giving free ride to women in Metro trains,” said a senior official.

Chief Minister Kejriwal also claimed that the fixed charge component of power tariff were raised by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority (DERC) last year “without consulting” the Delhi government.

“Next month new tariff is to be fixed. We have asked the DERC to bring back fixed charges to previous levels and they are likely to agree to it,” he said.

The monthly fixed charges were raised for domestic consumers having up to 2KW load from ₹20 to ₹125. The Delhi government provides subsidy to such consumers. However, in other categories, consumers pay higher fixed charges.

The hike in fixed charges for other slabs were: For 2-5KW from ₹35 to ₹140; for 5-15KW from ₹45 to ₹175; for 15-25KW from ₹60 to ₹200; and for more than 25KW from ₹100 to ₹250.

In the just-concluded Lok Sabha election, the AAP won only one Seat out of over 40 it had contested in nine States and Union Territories. The poll results came as a jolt to the party as it builds up for the Assembly election in Delhi early next year.

Stung by the dismal performance, the AAP government swung into action just a day after the Model Code of Conduct was lifted with the Chief Minister directing his Ministers on May 27 to speed up work on flagship schemes such as Mohalla Clinic, procurement of buses and the CCTV project.

Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai has, however, dismissed suggestions that the LS poll results would have an impact on Delhi Assembly election, asserting that there is no alternative to Mr. Kejriwal in the national capital.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 9:57:55 PM |

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