With an eye on the Delhi Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party government is considering making metro and bus travels free for women in Delhi, PTI reported. An announcement in this regard is likely to be made on Monday.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a public meeting on Saturday had proposed waiving fares for women travelling in buses and metros to encourage them to use public transport systems. “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.
Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has initiated discussions over various aspects of waiving off fares for women in public transport run by DTC, Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal System (DIMTS) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), said a government official.
Meanwhile, Transport department officials have pointed out the challenges associated with executing the CM’s proposed plans. While it may be easier to allow free travel for women in Delhi’s cluster bus services run by the DIMTS, executing the same for metro trains could prove an uphill task. “Besides other factors like technical and financial feasibility of such a move, the persisting disagreements between the Centre and the state government may also play a crucial role in going ahead with the proposal for giving free rides to women in Metro,” PTI quoted a senior official as saying.
It is to be noted 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 the metro. The Delhi government and the Centre are 50:50 equity partners in the DMRC.
In the public address, Kejriwal also claimed that the fixed charge component of power tariff was raised by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority (DERC) last year “without consulting” the Delhi government. “Next month the 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,” Kejriwal said.
After a poor performance in the recently held Lok Sabha elections where AAP managed to win just one seat out of over 40 seats in nine states, the party is in damage control mode with an aim to speed up work on the government’s flagship schemes like Mohalla Clinic, procurement of buses and the CCTV project. The Kejriwal-led party lost on all seven parliamentary seats in New Delhi to the BJP.