The AAP Monday said it will make the Delhi Metro fare hike a poll issue, hitting out at the BJP over its “silence” on the hike after which ridership dipped, as reported by The Indian Express through an RTI application Monday.
The party issued a statement asking if any BJP MP can show a single speech or statement made by them in or outside the Parliament on the issue, and also took on Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is a Special Purpose Vehicle, where the Delhi government and the Centre hold 50-50 equity.
The fare hike was effected in two phases in 2017 following the recommendation of a three-member committee chaired by Justice (retd) M L Mehta, an Additional Secretary of the UD Ministry and the then Delhi Chief Secretary K K Sharma. The AAP statement read: “AAP will make Delhi Metro fare hike by the BJP’s central government an issue for the Lok Sabha elections and will tell the people of Delhi that the seven MPs elected by them in 2014 fully deceived them. Does the Delhi BJP endorse the statement of Mr Hardeep Singh Puri that fare hike was mandatory?”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in a series of tweets, maintained that ridership does not reflect the “complete picture”. The Ministry handle stated that line utilisation has risen, along with average distance travelled by passengers. “It is heartening to note that average km travelled by passengers in DMRC has increased from 16.31 km in May ’18 to 17.39 km in Feb ’19. This is more important because the total distance travelled by passengers individually has gone down due to interchanges and additional networks,” it stated.
“It is not ridership alone which matters but many things like comfort, convenience, punctuality, reliability, apart from utilisation factor, journey time, etc, all matter to the passengers,” the Ministry tweeted Monday. It added that the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) ridership has also fallen.