THE Delhi state committee of the CPI(M), in a statement issued on May 9, has condemned the steep hike in the fares of Delhi Metro and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
The cost of tickets at practically all levels is being doubled through this measure. Thus, whereas the maximum cost of a metro ticket stands at Rs 30 today it will become Rs 60 in the second phase of fare increase in October. Same is the case of those travelling for 10, 5 or 21 kilometers.
A large portion of the working class and other working people in Delhi and its adjoining areas of Ghaziabad, Noida and Faridabad use the metro to reach their work places, which in most cases are far away from their homes. They will be worst affected. Thus, a worker who commutes over 44 km to work and another 44 plus to get back home for 26 working days presently pays Rs 1,560 per month. This will now increase to Rs 3,120 per month! The working people of Delhi who are already facing the double whammy of uncontrolled price rise and low wages cannot afford to pay for such expensive metro services.
Officials of Delhi Metro are claiming that fare hikes are required to pay for wage increase of employees. In other words, metro workers are being held responsible for the increase in fares. This specious argument must be rejected. It is the duty of the central and state governments to ensure cheap transport for the citizens of the capital. They can easily do so by increasing the subsidy provided to Delhi Metro, instead of spending thousands of crores on self-promoting advertisements.
The neoliberal logic of continually making public services more and more expensive is unacceptable. The CPI(M) hence demands immediate withdrawal of the anti-people measure hiking sharply the fares of Delhi Metro. It appeals to the people of Delhi to raise their powerful voice against this measure and force its withdrawal.