Free rides for women will cripple Delhi Metro: SC
SC takes dim view of proposal
New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra on Friday slammed the Delhi government's proposal of allowing free rides to women in the Delhi Metro.
The bench, which is monitoring the construction of the Metro's fourth phase, said the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation(DMRC) would incur heavy operational losses, while facilities will suffer as a result of the Delhi government-proposed plan.
Justice Mishra said: "You (Delhi government) will make travel free, and the Central government will have to pay for it."
On the Delhi government's admission that it is not immediately implementing the proposal, the court replied that it would be implemented sooner or later.
"They (Centre) will suffer with your policy...you (Delhi government) are aiming to destroy the metro", Justice Mishra said, adding that the Delhi government plan cannot be implemented without Centre's cooperation.
Noting that losses on this count will run up to Rs 1,500 crore per annum, the bench said that, as a result, DMRC might not remain a profitable venture.
The court also told the Delhi government that it must spend public money properly and should refrain from giving free sops to people.
The annual revenue for DMRC ranges between Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 crore.
The court noted that if free sops are given, there would be a yearly direct loss to DMRC, incapacitating the Corporation from paring its long-term debt obligations on time, hampering its expansion and depreciating both facilities and maintenance.
DMRC is the beneficiary of a soft loan from Japan.
The court was informed that Delhi Metro has never run into losses, and it may not run into losses in future.
Justice Mishra said that the Delhi government should, instead, be devising a strategy to keep costs down.
The court noted that Delhi Metro and the Centre are not in complete agreement with the plan.
DMRC has said Rs 1,566.64 crore was required annually to fund the fare exemption.
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