11 October New Delhi (India)The Delhi Metro fare hike evoked a mixed response from commuters in the national capital on Tuesday, even as the ABVP agitated against the “anti-people measure” outside the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) headquarters.
Commuters across the national capital region woke up to increased Metro fares earlier that morning, after demands for deferment were rejected at an emergency meeting of the DMRC board on Monday. The decision to go ahead with the fare hike followed a protracted battle between the Delhi government and the BJP-led Centre on the issue.
Even as the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student wing affiliated to the RSS, took its objections to the DMRC’s doorstep, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Delhi Congress charted out separate plans to protest the controversial move on Wednesday.
While the Kejriwal-led party will stage a sit-in at Metro stations across the capital under the ‘Metro Kiraya Satyagraha’ banner from 4 pm, the Delhi Congress aims to hold a similar ‘Stop Politics, Save Metro’ agitation.
Meanwhile, commuters – who now have to shell out up to Rs 10 extra for travelling over two kilometres – came up with varied responses. Though the more belligerent among them claimed they would switch to alternative modes of transport (including buses) in view of the Metro fare hike, others seemed to take the extra expenditure in their stride.
“I have no alternative mode of transport because there is no direct bus service from Ghaziabad to Delhi. So, I have to stick with the Metro even if they increase the fare,” said Rupal Sachan, a bank employee who commutes from Vaishali to Rajiv Chowk regularly.
Several commuters came out in support of the fare hike, stating that such a move was “necessary” to maintain the quality of the transport service. A few angry ones, however, said they were even considering driving to work in the circumstances.
The Delhi government, meanwhile, took its fight against the fare hike a step further by devoting an entire day to discuss the issue in the assembly. It later passed a resolution seeking the formation of a committee to probe how the tariff hike is intended to improve the DMRC’s financial health.
After the assembly session, chief minister Kejriwal held a review meeting of the Phase-IV Metro project. It was attended by DMRC chief Mangu Singh as well as officials of the Delhi government’s finance and transport departments.