Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Friday said he was "surprised" by former DMRC chief E Sreedharan's opposition to the Delhi government's proposed free travel scheme for women.
In a letter to Sreedharan, Sisodia asked him to reconsider his stand and "bless" the AAP dispensation to go ahead with this progressive step.
The deputy chief minister said due to proposed free scheme for women, the Delhi Metro's revenue will increase and ridership will go up, and more women will use the public transport.
Opposing the AAP government's proposed free travel scheme for women in the Delhi Metro trains, Sreedharan urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to agree to the proposal as it would set "an alarming precedence".
"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," Sisodia said in the letter.
He also said the Delhi government will buy around a million coupons in bulk from the DMRC on a daily basis and provide these to women commuters for their free travel, seeking to know why should anyone have any objection to that.
"Sir, your stand appears to be a result of misunderstanding about the Delhi government's proposal.
"You will appreciate that after the completion of Phase-III of the DMRC, its services were designed to have a capacity of daily ridership of four million (forty lakh passengers daily)," Sisodia said.
One of the main reasons behind the decreasing Delhi Metro ridership is high fares, he said.
"In fact the Delhi Metro is one of the most expensive modes of public transport in the world today (after purchasing power parity). The Delhi Metro needs to drastically improve its efficiency and become cost competitive," he said.
The intention of the 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, he said, adding that it is a revolutionary step to empower women.