On 23 October, 2017, the trade unions of Delhi held a protest at the Department of Urban Development demanding a repeal of the increase in metro fares.
Workers, women and youth participated in great numbers along with trade union activists in the demonstration. The protesters shouted slogans like – ‘Take back the increased fare! Down with the anti-worker, anti-people policy of the government! The Central Government should come to its senses and reduce the metro fare! Long live the revolution!’
Trade union leaders addressed the protesters and roundly condemned the Central government for the rise in metro fares.
They said that lakhs of Delhi citizens, including working people, women and students travel in the metro. The onus is on the government to make the metro an improved form of public transport. It should be cheap and accessible. Turning the metro into a source of profit is an injustice against the people. The government is refusing to fulfill its responsibility towards the people.
Their claim that it is necessary to increase the metro fare to compensate for increasing the wages of metro workers is also an outright lie. It is a ploy to create enmity between metro workers and workers in other sectors of Delhi. We demand that metro workers should be ensured an adequate wage along with all other rights.
Among those who addressed the demonstrators were – Rishipal Singh from INTUC, Com. Rajendra Singh from Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Com. D. Sharma from AITUC, Com. H.C. Pant from CITU, Com. Abhishek from AICCTU, Com. Amar Rawat from AIUTUC, Com. Shatrujit from UTUC, and Com. Santosh Kumar from Mazdoor Ekta Committee.
At the end of the demonstration, the following charter of demands was handed to the Department of Urban Development.
The hike in metro fare should be repealed immediately.
The frequency of metro trains should be increased. The number of ticket windows and security check points should be increased so as to reduce the long lines in metro stations.
Along with giving the contract workers permanent jobs, they should be guaranteed all their other rights.
All forms of public transport in Delhi – from the Metro to the DTC – should be expanded.