The Centre on Thursday said that it has so far not received any proposal from the Aam Aadmi Party government for free travel for women in metro trains, PTI reported. However, hours later Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government does not have to send any proposal in this regard, and assured the women that the plan for free metro rides will be implemented in the national Capital, according to ANI.
“No, Sir,” said Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs (Independent Charge) Hardeep Singh Puri in response to a written question by Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy in Lok Sabha on whether the Union government has any proposal for free rides for women in Delhi metro train. Whether the government of Delhi has requested and sent any proposal for this to the Union government for approval, Puri again responded saying: “No, Sir”.
“On our request, Del Metro has submitted its proposal,” Kejriwal, however, tweeted on Thursday. “In principle, their proposal is agreeable to us. However, Delhi govt is studying its details. I repeat that, as announced, Delhi govt is committed to provide free metro rides to women.”
Delhi government official Nagendra Sharma said Roy’s question was meant for the Centre. “It is a Delhi government proposal and the Delhi government will bear the cost and paying directly to the DMRC [Delhi Metro Rail Corporation],” Sharma said in a tweet. “TMC MP’s Q was whether Centre has any proposal! Please do not be confused.”
Earlier this month, the Aam Aadmi Party had announced a plan to make metro rides, as well as travel on Delhi Transport Corporation buses, free for women. The Bharatiya Janata Party had 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 won only one seat in Punjab and none in the Capital.
On June 22, Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi had criticised former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan for not supporting the Delhi government’s proposal. Atishi had claimed the party was surprised that Sreedharan had written a “political letter”. Sreedharan had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and had said that the proposal would set “an alarming precedence”. He had said that if the Delhi government was “so keen” on helping female commuters, it can pay the cost of travel directly to them instead of introducing free travel schemes.