NEW DELHI :
'Metro Man' E Sreedharan has alleged that the Delhi government's proposal of free travel for women is an "election gimmick" and urged the Kejriwal dispensation to "not destroy" the efficient and successful public transport system for electoral gains.
In a letter to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the former DMRC chief also said free travel will "worsen overcrowding" and "lead to mishaps".
There was no immediate reaction from the Delhi government or the AAP in this regard.
Sreedharan's letter to Sisodia, dated June 20, comes days after the AAP leader wrote to the former, expressing "surprise" over his opposition to the AAP government's scheme.
"I am not opposing Delhi government's proposal to bear the cost of free travel for women but objecting only to the concept of free travel in a metro. If we allow free travel for women, what about more deserving categories such as students, disabled persons and senior citizens?" he said in the letter.
Sreedharan, who is also the principal adviser to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), said "no metro" in the world has extended free travel facility to women exclusively.
He wrote that any compensation paid to DMRC by the Delhi government, is tax-payers' money and a tax payer has the right to question why only women are being given free travel.
"Everybody knows this is an election gimmick to win votes of women in the next Assembly election," Sreedharan alleged in the letter.
In his letter, he also pointed to the liability faced by the Delhi Metro and the implications the proposed scheme might have on it.
"My objection is to the very idea of allowing free travel to any section of the society, till such time loans taken by the DMRC (now outstanding about ₹35,000 crore) is serviced and paid back," he wrote.
"I would, therefore appeal to your government not to destroy an efficient and successful public transport system such as Delhi Metro for electoral gains," Sreedharan said.
Sisodia in his letter to the former DMRC chief had asked him to reconsider his stand and "bless" the AAP dispensation to go ahead with this progressive step.
Prior to that, opposing the AAP government's proposed scheme, Sreedharan had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to agree to the proposal as it would set "an alarming precedence".
In a letter to the prime minister, he had said, if the Delhi government is "so keen" to help women commuters, it can pay the cost of their travel directly to them rather than making travel free on metro trains.
DMRC is a corporation with equal stakes of both the Delhi government and the Centre.