New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked the DMRC how it can justify not providing free drinking water to commuters if metro services in Kochi, Jaipur, Lucknow and other cities are making it available. A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao also asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) how it was going to provide water free of cost to commuters at one location inside the metro stations so that it is accessible to everyone.
“Clarify how you (DMRC) will implement it. Clarify if you can provide free drinking water at one particular point in a station which is accessible to all commuters,” it said and listed the matter for further hearing on October 11. The court asked for the information as DMRC in an affidavit has said that in stations where water ATMs or kiosks are not available its officials can be approached by those in emergent need of water.
Advocate Kush Sharma, appearing for petitioner Kush Kalra, told the court that metro services in other cities were providing free drinking water to commuters, but Delhi metro, which was a consultant in all those projects, was not. Taking note of the submission, the court asked DMRC,”What is your justification for that?” The DMRC told the bench that it can provide signs on the metro stations indicating where free drinking water would be available in case of an emergency.
The metro also said it has set up water ATMs at its stations which provide water at a charge of Rs two per glass and apart from that there are kiosks and shops which sell drinking water. It also said that commuters are free to carry their own drinking water. The DMRC had earlier told the court that only a nominal fee was charged by it for drinking water and toilets at its stations to prevent misuse of these facilities.
The court was hearing a Kalra’s appeal against a single judge’s order that a commuter on the metro does not have a right to free drinking water. The single judge had said that a person has a right to drinking water, but not for free. The order had come on a plea by Kalra, an advocate, who had sought directions to the DMRC to provide free drinking water and toilets at its stations.
In his plea, he had also alleged that there was lack of dustbins inside several metro stations. The DMRC had later installed transparent dustbins for organic and inorganic waste in its stations.The court had earlier this year pulled up the Delhi Metro for not providing free drinking water or toilet facilities to commuters inside the stations, asking whether it has lost “a sense of human problems”. “You go anywhere in the world, there are toilets in the metro stations. In London, the volume of traffic is not as much as we have,” the court had said.