Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that women will be allowed to travel for free on the Delhi Metro, Delhi Transport Corporation buses and cluster buses, ANI reported. Kejriwal said the move was aimed at women’s safety and giving them access to modes of transport that have higher fares, ANI reported.
The chief minister said he has given officials a week’s time to make a detailed proposal on how the scheme can be implemented. “We are making an effort to start this within two to three months. We’re also seeking suggestions from people, regarding implementation,” he said, according to ANI.
Kejriwal said a subsidy will not be imposed. “We encourage those, who can afford, to buy tickets and not take subsidy so that others could benefit,” he said.
Kejriwal had announced the proposal at a public meeting at Kali Bari on Saturday, reported The Indian Express. “We are about to make an announcement soon, but I will share a part of it with you,” he had said. “We are working on a proposal to make Metro and bus rides free for women. This will encourage them to use public transport and ensure their safety.”
BJP criticises Delhi government’s proposal
The Bharatiya Janata Party criticised the Delhi government’s proposal, calling it an election gimmick. Assembly elections are due to be held by February 2020. In the recently held Lok Sabha elections, AAP had one only won seat in Punjab and none in the Capital.
BJP leader Vijender Gupta, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, called the proposal a “cheap populist measure”, reported The Times of India. “The government’s assertions that free ridership to women passengers in public transport need at least six months to implement...It shows that the promise is nothing beyond an election gimmick,” Gupta said. “By the end of six months, the Model of Code of Conduct would have come in force. Kejriwal can make any promise as long as it doesn’t lie within the realm of real timeframe.”
Gupta claimed the Kejriwal had caused obstacles in the implementation of the fourth phase of the Delhi Metro and has not bought a single DTC bus during his tenure, according to The Indian Express.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari claimed Kejriwal was misleading the people, ANI reported. “He promised to deploy Marshals for safety of women and panic buttons in buses, it seems he himself is now panicking,” Tiwari said. “He can’t understand what new tactic to use to mislead people of Delhi.”
Tiwari said the BJP was not opposed to the measure, but Kejriwal had failed to fulfill the promises he made over four years ago. “We are not opposing the idea but something that couldn’t even be started in 52 months, how can it be done in 5-6 months?” he asked, in an indirect reference to the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi.