Seems like Delhi government’s proposal of free Delhi metro rides for women has hit a major road bump. The Supreme Court on Friday said giving “freebies” and “sops” might lead the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to incur losses. The apex court further – reminding the Delhi Government that it is not “Powerless” – added that it can refrain the government from giving “freebies” from public money.
“If you will allow people to travel for free, then the Delhi metro may go into loss. If you will give freebies, we will stop you. You are fighting for a cause here and you want them to incur loss. Do not give sops, it is public money,” a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta told the lawyer appearing for Delhi government.
The Delhi Government had earlier proposed that it wants to make metro rides free for women, irrespective of their age, citing it as an attempt to make Delhi safe. The move came ahead of Assembly Election, due for next year, and thus, is being addressed as an election gimmick.
The bench was notably hearing three issues related to Phase-IV of Delhi metro, repayment of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loan and sharing of land cost. The AAP wanted the Center to bear 50% of the losses, if any incurred, in the process of Delhi Metro’s Phase IV expansion.
On AAP’s proposal of bearing 50% loss share, the SC bench asked the Delhi government why it wants to destroy the metro adding that it can’t just announce freebies and expect the center to bear the losses. “If you give freebies then there will be a problem. What you handle is public money and public trust; do not think that courts are powerless”. added the bench.
Regarding the sharing of land cost, the apex court accepted the submissions and directed that the land cost for the phase-IV project would be borne by the Centre and the Delhi government equally. The court also asked the Delhi Government to ensure there is no delay in the expansion process.
The 103.94 km long phase-IV of Delhi metro will consist of six corridors — Aerocity to Tughlakabad; Inderlok to Indraprastha; Lajpat Nagar to Saket G Block; Mukundpur to Maujpur; Janakpuri West to R K Ashram and Rithala to Bawana and Narela.