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Delhi govt proposes to make metro, bus travel free for women: Kejriwal

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 3, 2019  | 20:03 IST

(Eds: Adds details, BJP reax) New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday announced his government has decided to make commute for women in public transport buses and Metro trains free, a move the Opposition decried as "populist" and aimed to "mislead" people ahead of assembly polls due early next year. Kejriwal said his government will provide subsidy, which will amount to nearly Rs 700-800 crore, for the scheme to be implemented in 2-3 months. "Delhi Metro is on board. I have asked for a detailed report from them in seven days," he told reporters at a press conference. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) refused to comment on the announcement. The Centre and the city government have 50 per cent equity each in the Delhi Metro. As per the mandate, if Delhi government wants to introduce a scheme, it will have to inform or take approval from the central government. "Delhi government will have to send a file of the proposal to the Lt Governor for approval as the Centre has a 50 per cent stake in Delhi Metro," an official source said, making it clear that the move is likely to face hurdles as the scheme's feasibility is yet to be ascertained. The Delhi government may find it difficult to implement the plan as there are other agencies involved such as the finance department, LG's office and Housing and Urban Development Affairs Ministry, sources said. They said there is also a fixation committee of the DMRC, which is quasi judicial, and it will have to look into whether there is a role for the committee in this scheme. "No permission from Centre is required because Delhi government will bear the entire cost. Around Rs 700-800 crore is estimated cost for subsidy for the remaining months of the current year, which will be borne the by Delhi government," Kejriwal asserted however. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari dubbed the move "populist" and said Kejriwal "seems to have lost his mental balance" and was making the announcement in view of the coming assembly election. He is trying to recover the ground his party lost in Lok Sabha polls, Tiwari said. "We do not oppose the move but it's inspired by coming assembly elections. It's one more promise by Kejriwal which is aimed to mislead people," Tiwari told reporters. But, when asked if the proposal was prompted by the coming assembly election, Kejriwal said there is no "Shubh Muhurt" (auspicious time) to do "good" things. He said Delhi Transport Corporation and Delhi Metro officers have been given one week to submit detailed reports on the plan. He said women who can afford expenses of public transport travel will be encouraged to shun the subsidy. A lot of formalities are to be attended for implementing the decision and a special session of the Delhi Assembly will have to be called for budgetary provisions, he said. The government will seek suggestions from people on how to implement the scheme. The chief minister rejected the suggestion the move will lead to congestion in Metro trains. He said around 1,000 buses will be rolled out by November to boost the DTC fleet. "In next 12 months, around 3,000 new buses will be physically delivered," he said. Citing data, he said around 30-33 per cent daily ridership in buses and Metro trains comprises women commuters. "The step will not lead to congestion in Delhi Metro trains as daily ridership will increase by just one lakh. Currently 25 lakh people travel by Metro trains every day," he said. DTC buses have a daily ridership of 40 lakh and the DTC and the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal System (DIMTS)-run cluster buses number around 5,500. There are marshals in all DTC buses for safety of women passengers and directions have been given to depute them on cluster buses as well. All buses will be equipped with CCTV cameras, he said. Kejriwal said work on installing nearly 1.50 lakh CCTV cameras across the city will begin from June 8 and will be completed by December. A proposal for another 1.40 lakh CCTV cameras will be floated this month, he said. Also, 1.5 lakh CCTV cameras are being installed in government schools and the work will be completed by November, he added. "These are two major announcements which will boost the safety of women who feel quite unsafe in the the city," the chief minister said. PTI VIT BUN VIT ABH ABH

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