AAP hits streets against fare hike
PROTEST MODE Ruling party workers stage demonstrations outside Metro stations, shout antiBJP slogans, demand rollback of hike
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.