Opposition Asks AAP Govt to Listen to Metro Man Sreedharan, Review Free Travel Ride Proposal

Opposition Asks AAP Govt to Listen to Metro Man Sreedharan, Review Free Travel Ride Proposal

New Delhi: Armed with 'Metro Man' E Sreedharan's strong-worded criticism of the AAP government's plan to provide free commute to women in Delhi Metro trains, the opposition BJP and Congress on Friday demanded a review of the decision to implement the proposed scheme.

Earlier this month, the Arvind Kejriwal government had announced that it would make commute for women in public buses and metro trains free.

Sreedharan, the first managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposed the AAP government's proposed scheme, saying it would set "an alarming precedence".

Sreedharan, popularly called ‘Metro Man’, said if the Delhi government is “so keen” to help women commuters, it can pay the cost of their travel directly to them rather than making travel free on metro trains.

Sreedharan also told CNN-News 18 that the decision to not allow any concession to any section of the society was taken during his time as the managing director, when the first metro line was opened in 2002. Even the then prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee had bought a ticket himself to travel to the station from where the metro's first section was inaugurated, he added.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari concurred with the concerns raised by Sreedharan and said that the Kejriwal government should pay heed to him and review its proposal.

"The point raised by the former Delhi Metro chief could not be ignored as he has said that it will lead to inefficiency and a bankrupt Delhi Metro. So, free ride proposal for women in Metro trains must be reviewed by the government," he said.

Delhi Congress spokesperson Jitendra Kochar said the proposal of the AAP government was aimed at the upcoming Assembly elections, and asked for the Metro Man's view to be considered "seriously".

"My appeal to Kejriwal is that he should think over the proposal otherwise this will lead to the collapse of the Delhi Metro," Kochar said.

The ruling AAP, however, defended the free travel proposal and assured Sreedharan that DMRC will not suffer any losses as the Delhi government will reimburse it.

"We want to assure him that Delhi Metro will not suffer any losses since the Delhi government will reimburse the agency for free rides taken by women, thus eliminating the possibility of inefficiency," AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said in a statement.

Bhardwaj also countered Sreedharan's suggestion that the government should instead transfer the subsidy amount directly into the accounts of female travellers as complicated and impractical.

(With inputs from PTI)