Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, announced free rides for women in public transport. The decision was AAPs version of the solution of women safety in Delhi. It drew harsh criticism and many termed it as the freebies for the elections. ‘Metro man’, E. Sreedharan, is new to the list of haters. He has recently written a letter to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, against the decision.
In his letter to the Prime Minister on June 10, a copy of which was accessed by The Hindu Mr. Sreedharan wrote: “One shareholder cannot take a unilateral decision to give concession to one section of community and push Delhi Metro in to inefficiency and bankruptcy.”
Having been instrumental in setting up the Delhi Metro, 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, but the Delhi government’s decision has 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 and at the same time Metro would make sufficient operational surpluses to pay back the loans taken from JAICA,” Mr. Sreedharan wrote.
He recalled that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also 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 precendence to 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 in 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.
The Kejriwal’s move of freebies has definitely back fired. He should have given a discount or a special metro pass to students instead. They are the ones who are needy and are neglected by the system.