(Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday said he is "pained" to know that former DMRC chief E Sreedharan has opposed the state government's proposal to make metro rides free of cost for women.

Sisodia wrote a letter to Sreedharan saying, "I am surprised and pained to read your letter addressed to the Prime Minister, in which you have opposed the Delhi government's proposal to bear the cost of allowing free ridership for women in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) trains."

The Deputy Chief Minister also claimed, "By Delhi Metro's own admission, free ridership for women will increase women ridership by 50 per cent. Delhi Metro should celebrate this rather than oppose it.

Even after providing free ridership for women, DMRC daily ridership will go up by only three lakhs on a daily basis, which will still be much less than the designed capacity of 40 lakhs."

He also mentioned that as one of the main reasons behind the "falling" Delhi Metro ridership is the high fare, it needs to drastically improve its efficiency and become cost competitive.

"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. It is a revolutionary step to empower women. It will open up immense opportunities for women," he said in the letter.

Sisodia opined that the purpose of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in the state is not to interfere in the functioning of Delhi Metro. "I request you to reconsider your stand and bless us to go ahead with this progressive step," he added.

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