NEW DELHI: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Wednesday said that it will need eight months to implement the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government’s proposed scheme of free Metro rides for women.
Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal had last week announced the scheme offering free travel for women in the Metro and government buses. With less than a year to go for the assembly elections in the national capital, the Delhi government had aimed to implement the scheme in two or three months.
DMRC has submitted a proposal to the government with two plans detailing how the scheme can be implemented and the changes that will need to be made to the rules. It also said the plan must be approved by the fare fixation committee.
The Metro authority will initially, as a short-term measure, install separate counters and vending machines for women from where they can get tokens without paying any fee. The entry gate for women will be different, though the exit gates will remain the same.
DMRC will later put into effect the long-term plan, which will involve changing the system software, tokens, and cards. This will take one year to implement, the metro authority said.
Kejriwal said the government will work with DMRC to implement the scheme faster. “Although the DMRC says they need eight months to roll out this model, we believe we can work with their officers and implement the scheme in the next two-three months. Only two steps need to be taken by the DMRC. Special tokens need to be printed and in 170 stations, where ticket windows have been shut, they need to be reopened. We do not think these steps will take more than two-three months," the AAP national convener said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Delhi Metro is a joint venture between the centre and the Delhi government.
DMRC has said it will need approximately ₹1,500 crore from the Delhi government for implementing the scheme, according to Kejriwal. However, the payment will be made on actual figures, he said.
“The Delhi government will give a commitment to the DMRC that the subsidy will be provided by the government, similar to the subsidies paid by the government for electricity and water. It is a win-win situation," he said.