Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Monday urged the Delhi Metro to work on "lowering fares" for commuters, asserting that it was possible to do it if pursued with commitment.
He said this in the presence of Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Hardeep Singh Puri, DMRC chief Mangu Singh and HUA secretary D S Mishra after the inauguration of 9.7-km Lajpat Nagar-Mayur Vihar Pocket 1 corridor of the Pink Line at the Metro Bhawan.
"We all take pride in Delhi Metro and we salute the engineers and others who have built it... But, Metro is a need of Delhi and not a leisure that sometimes people would go out with the family for a ride. It is part of our daily lives. And, I feel, the fares are high as far as the common man is concerned," Mr Sisodia said.
"We will have to find ways to lower it," he added.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials, however, did not comment on Mr Sisodia's remarks.
"Delhi Metro goes under Shastri Bhawan and below some of the crowded areas in old Delhi, and through elevated lines in other areas. If we can solve technical problems through engineering, similarly it is possible to economic engineering to bring down the fares. It is possible if we have full commitment," the deputy chief minister said.
He asserted that once it gets accepted that fares need to be lowered and ways can be found out, it can be done "if pursued with full commitment," he added.
Mr Sisodia said while deciding fares for a metro in a city like Delhi or a country like India, the socio-economic structure will have to be factored in.
"Our metro fares are lower, compared to metros in other countries. But, we need to consider per capita income and minimum wages. If we want a labourer earning Rs 13,000 to use a metro, then we need to lower rates, otherwise, they will use road transport. So, we still need to lower it," he said.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in March, during the opening of the Majlis Park-Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus section of the Pink Line, had raised the issue of hike in Delhi Metro fares.
"If we can work together, the Delhi government, Centre and the metro, we can find a solution to it. The fare fixation committee had increased fares of metro, and I believe that the committee will set an example by reducing fares this time," he had said.
c who is an MLA from Patparganj, thanked the Delhi Metro for opening the new line, and described it as a "New Year gift".
The Lajpat Nagar-Mayur Vihar Pocket 1 corridor has five stations -- Lajpat Nagar, Vinobapuri, Ashram, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Mayur Vihar Ph-I and Mayur Vihar Pocket-1.
Mayur Vihar Ph-I and Mayur Vihar Pocket-1 are elevated stations and the rest are underground. Mayur Vihar Ph-I is also an interchange station.
"This is personally important for me as Patparganj is my Vidhan Sabha area. And, this is an important connectivity for east and south Delhi. Now, people can come to south Delhi, without using ant bridges," he said.
He also urged DMRC officials to "restore" a park in east Delhi, which was "taken up by the Delhi Metro during construction work".