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'Free ride to women will be beneficial for DMRC'

NEW DELHI: A day after former Delhi Metro chief E

Sreedharan asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to agree to Delhi government's free travel for women proposal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday said that Delhi Metro was running in losses.

"I have written to Sreedharan Sahib and told him that Delhi Metro is running in losses. Its carrying capacity is 40 lakh passengers every day but presently it is carrying only 25 lakh passengers," Deputy Chief Minister said.

Delhi government had recently announced its decision to give free travel to women passengers on metro and buses.

"Delhi government will buy around a million coupons in bulk from the DMRC on the daily basis and provide these to women commuters for their free travel", Sisodia said.

Popularly known as the 'metro man,' Sreedharan wrote to Modi asking him not to agree to Delhi government's proposal.

Delhi government and the Centre have an equal partnership in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

"Our proposal for 'free travel for women on Metro' will be beneficial for the Delhi Metro. Its ridership

will increase and fares will come down. One of the reasons behind low ridership is high fare. If Delhi government pays the fare of women

commuters, the Delhi Metro should be happy with it," Sisodia said.

"Your stand appears to be a result of misunderstanding about the Delhi government's proposal. You will appreciate that after the completion of the Phase-3 of the DMRC, its services were designed to have capacity of daily ridership of four million (Forty lakh

passengers daily). However, figures show that DMRC is

catering to an average ridership of less than 25 lakh daily. It means that Delhi Metro is running at less than 65 percent efficiency. Rest of Delhi Metro'scapacity is lying idle," he said in his letter.

Sisodia said that the intention of Delhi government in allowing free travel for women is to ensure women safety and to encourage the use of public transport in the national capital to reduce air pollution.

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