New Delhi: Known popularly as ‘Metro man’, former chief of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), E Sreedharan has condemned the AAP government’s proposal to offer free metro rides for women.

In a letter to PM Modi, Sreedharan urges the Prime Minister to oppose the proposal as it could cause ‘alarming precedence’. In the letter, he also mentions an alternative to the proposal and suggests that the travel fare be directly be paid to women commuters rather than making travel free.

“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.

“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.

Sreedharan, who is now the principal advisor to the DMRC, also added that after the metro was inaugurated for the first time in 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee also travelled with a ticket. 

Earlier, both the BJP and Congress at the centre had dismissed AAP’s free travel for women as an election gimmick and nothing more.