AAP hits streets against fare hike

PROTEST MODE Rul­ing party work­ers stage demon­stra­tions out­side Metro sta­tions, shout anti­BJP slo­gans, de­mand roll­back of hike

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Metro - Gu­lam.jee­lani@htlive.com

NEWDELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wed­nes­day staged demon­stra­tions out­side Metro sta­tions across Delhi de­mand­ing a roll­back of the hike in fares.

Dur­ing the ag­i­ta­tion dubbed “Metro Ki­raya Satya­graha”, party vol­un­teers blamed the Cen­tre and Delhi Metro Rail Cor­po­ra­tion (DMRC) for in­creas­ing fares de­spite the gov­ern­ment’s op­po­si­tion.

The big­gest gath­er­ing of party vol­un­teers was re­ported out­side Vish­wavidyalaya Metro sta­tion where se­nior AAP leader and Delhi con­vener Gopal Rai led the ag­i­ta­tion. Car­ry­ing plac­ards and shout­ing anti-BJP slo­gans, the pro­tes­tors — men and women of all ages — de­manded an im­me­di­ate roll­back of the hike.

“I com­mute by metro ev­ery day. Two fare hikes in six months is un­jus­ti­fied. We are against this de­ci­sion and want a roll­back,” said Kushal Singh, 35, a teacher from Nehru Na­gar.

A re­tired gov­ern­ment em­ployee, Ashish Ku­mar Bhat­acharya, 64, who also joined the pro­tes­tors, ac­cused the Cen­tre of burn­ing a hole in the com­mon man’s pock­ets .

“We are al­ready hit by in­fla­tion and new tax regimes. And now we have to pay nearly dou­ble the fares in Metro if we count both the hikes im­ple­mented in six months,” he said.

The Delhi Metro fares were in­creased from Tues­day de­spite strong op­po­si­tion from the AAP gov­ern­ment. The min­i­mum fare of Delhi Metro was hiked from ₹8 to ₹10, and the max­i­mum from ₹30 to ₹50, in May this year. The max­i­mum fig­ure went up from ₹50 to ₹60 in the new fare price.

“We don’t un­der­stand why was their press­ing need to in­crease fares so much af­ter eight years of no price re­vi­sion,” said Gopal Rai. Rai said the protests would con­tinue till the hike was rolled back and added that party lead­ers would protest at the Union ur­ban min­istry’s of­fice at Nir­man Bha­van on Oc­to­ber 13. The min­istry and Delhi gov­ern­ment are equal stake­hold­ers in DMRC.

AAP MLAs raised the is­sue dur­ing spe­cial ses­sions of the Delhi Assem­bly and a res­o­lu­tion to op­pose the hike was passed.

“They in­creased the fare de­spite op­po­si­tion from the gov­ern­ment. The in­crease in fare hits the com­mon man and ben­e­fits pri­vate cab op­er­a­tors,” Rai said.

Else­where, vol­un­teers gath­ered in hun­dreds and ex­tended their sup­port for the protest.

“The fare hike is un­jus­ti­fied. Now metro no more re­mains a cheap means of trans­port for peo­ple,” said, Jagesh­war Solanki, 44, out­side a Metro sta­tion. Ear­lier in the day, over a dozen mem­bers of the Ch­ha­tra Yuva Sang­harsh Samiti (CYSS) — AAP’s stu­dent wing — staged a protest out­side Ra­jiv Chowk Metro sta­tion.


An AAP worker hands out leaflets near La­j­pat Na­gar Metro sta­tion on Wed­nes­day.

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