New Delhi: Delhi government’s lavish plan of giving free metro travel to Delhi women has now extended the free journey benefits through the Metro’s feeder buses too. Although this sounds good and beneficial for the female passengers and one would like to appreciate the government for its latest move, but the adverse effect is that the government is to undergo a huge loss due to this plan.
As per an estimate, the scheme will incur a loss of around Rs 1560 crore of which Rs 11 crore will incur due to free metro feeder bus services to female passengers. Delhi, at present, has 174 feeder buses operating within the metro city and there are plans of operating 905 more buses soon.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, after his announcement of the free services for women, has now said that it will pay the expenses to DMRC. The metro authority had sent an eight-page proposal to the AAP-led Delhi government wherein it stated, “The scheme, since it depends on manual checks, has very high risk of misuse by individuals as well as misuse in organsied manner… The amount spent on the scheme will also be in-fructuous.”
The DMRC further added that it is working on altering the fare collection system and for these non-transferable smartcards will be issued to the passengers which will remain with the original passenger only and cannot be transferred to others occasionally.
A legal advisor was consulted by DMRC to know if the government is empowered to give financial subsidy or grant to passengers under the Delhi Metro Railway (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002. The legal opinion submitted by DMRC states, “… neither the state government is empowered to subsidise the metro fares or exempt certain class of persons from payment if the metro fares, before the same being recommended by Fare Fixation Committee, which determines the fares to be collected from the passengers travelling on the metro network.”