Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday (September 27) said that modern public transport facilities like metro rail can not be offered to people for free.
Metro rail and electric bus projects are capital-intensive and have to be economically feasible, he told media during the India Smart Cities Conclave 2023 in Indore.
"The philosophy of some political parties is that all such services should be made free for citizens," Puri said, without naming any party. “If you want public transport facilities equipped with modern technology, then you cannot say that these services should be provided free,” the minister added.
Metro rail projects have not failed anywhere in the country, and in every city the project was given the government's approval only after adequate study, he said.
Metro rail came to the country when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister and now 27 big cities have metro projects, Puri said, adding that 870 km of metro network has been laid across the country while the construction of another 936 km is underway.
Electric buses in India:
The Union government is also working on a plan to run 10,000 electric buses across the country and out of these, 500 buses will start running in the next few months, he said. After the success of the Smart City project, a message is being sent across the country that the innovative work being done under the project will not be limited to only 100 cities, the minister said.
"Some state governments are building smart cities and smart districts on their own without the help of the centre," he said.
(With PTI inputs)