NEW DELHI: In a major development on the proposal of free transport for women, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has sent a “concrete proposal” estimating an annual expenditure of Rs 1,566.16 cr for facilitating free rides to the Delhi government.
At a press conference, CM Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday shared the details of the proposal submitted by the DMRC. He said, the AAP government had no objection with the DMRC estimation and was ready to pay the yearly expenditure as per the bills.
“Two options were proposed for implementation of this scheme. One is a longer term plan that will take one year to implement and will involve changing of the DMRC software, tokens and cards. However, the second option is a short term, stop gap arrangement. As per this model, women shall purchase tokens at ticket windows and Automatic Ticket Vending Machines by simply sharing destination. There will be a separate entry gate for women, but exit gates will remain common. The DMRC will not need to change software,” Kejriwal said.
While the DMRC sought eight months to roll out the proposal, Kejriwal said he was hopeful that his officials will work with the DMRC and implement it in two-three months. “Only two steps need to be taken by the DMRC — special tokens need to be printed and in 170 stations, ticket windows need to be reopened. We do not think these steps will take more than two-three months.”
Commenting on the financial aspect, Kejriwal said the DMRC expects a 50 per cent rise in women ridership, which means 45-50 per cent of the ridership will be women. “This will mean a total financial commitment of Rs1,566.64 cr. We have no objections. Operationally, the Delhi government will pay the DMRC whatever is the actual cost it incurs. Whether it is our projection or the DMRC’s, the payments will be finally based on the actual usage of the subsidy,” he said.
Kejriwal assured the people that their hard earned money would be used to provide them maximum benefit. “We have made this financial arrangement for the empowerment and security of women. The Delhi government will give a commitment to the DMRC that the subsidy will be provided like in the cases of the subsidy paid for electricity and water.”
The CM said the DMRC believes the approval of the Fare Fixation Committee will be needed for the roll out of the scheme. “The Fare Fixation Committee should ordinarily not be required in this case because this is not a matter of fare fixation. However, if the DMRC thinks it is necessary, we will go ahead with it.”