Demand Immediate Roll Back of Metro Fare Hike and Students’ Concessional Metro Pass
On 18 January, AISA called for ‘Occupy Vishwavidyalaya’ protest demanding- (i) Immediately roll back the metro fare hike; (ii) Provision of metro concessional passes to all students of DU; and (iii) Increase the frequency of DTC buses and connectivity to all colleges.
More than 500 hundred students occupied the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station for many hours. The entry gate was shut as a result as students gathered and sloganeered amidst heavy police and CISF deployment. Many other organizations, elected college unions and common students joined the call for the protest given by All India Students’ Association. Students’ anger was reflected in the tremendous mobilisation and energy in the protest which ensured absolute shut down of the entry gate. Despite tremendous threats from the hundreds of Policemen and CISF the gate was occupied for several hours. The students sloganeered – Roll Back Metro Fare Hike; Occupy DU Metro; We want Concessional Pass etc. – for hours and slowly were joined by hundreds of DU students returning from college. The protestors demanded that senior Metro officials should assure that the demands will be met or else the OCCUPY would continue. Despite many hours of the OCCUPY the Police and the metro administration kept on deflecting the issue and no senior official came to meet the protestors. This made the protestors restless and they decided to block the Ring Road in front of the metro station. The Ring Road was then blocked by protestors and a human chain was made across the road. The Police resorted to assaults and lathi charge and many students were injured. Yet this assault could not break the resolve of the protestors and the blockade of the Ring Road continued till a senior Metro Official met the protestors.
Every step that the government is taking is making the lives of students difficult. Delhi University is a campus where students come from different parts of the country and they stay in places across Delhi. The decision to increase fare has added an extra burden of 2000-3000 to their monthly budget and made it really difficult to carry on their survival. Such decisions reflect the misplaced priorities of the government who is looking for profit over welfare at the cost of young students, who are future of the country. We immediately demand that the government must immediately roll back the fare hike. Not only this but they must provide concessional passes to the entire student community who lives in Delhi. It is really an irony that in times when the toxic level of air pollution in Delhi is at record high, the government rather than making an accessible and better system of public transport is bent on destroying it. We will not let Delhi become a Gas chamber. We also demand that the frequency of DTC buses to be increased.
A memorandum was submitted to the official who assured that the demands will be duly considered. Kawalpreet Kaur, DU AISA President said to the official, “We warn you that the Metro officials should not try to deflect the issue. If the demands are not met in a week then even bigger protests will be taken to CM and PM’s house. This only the beginning. The blockade of CM and PM will follow.”