Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri today dubbed as “absurd” the suggestions that Delhiites shifted to other modes of transport like cab services or started buying expensive cars due to the recent metro fare hike.The comments come in the backdrop of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal having written a letter to Puri, seeking a review of the hike and reiterating his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed “claw back”.”Desire to create false narrative on #MetroFare taking an amusing turn. It s being suggested those who weren t able to afford India s cheapest metro can actually afford to buy & run expensive cars or use cabs. You don t have to be an economist to see absurdity of this argument,” the Union minister said on Twitter.Hitting out at the AAP-led Delhi government, the housing and urban affairs minister said if the metro had become an “expensive luxury liner”, the city government should increase the number of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses.He also claimed that there was a 35 per cent dip in the DTC ridership.”If #Metro is an expensive luxury liner then #DTC should immediately buy more buses to make up for shortfall of 7000 buses & drastic 35% drop in ridership. Who s responsible for this? Surely Delhi citizens deserve both – an efficient & reliable DTC & much better arguments!,” Puri said in another tweet.In response to Kejriwal’s letter, the Union minister had said neither the Centre nor the Delhi government has powers to rollback the fares fixed by the fixation committee headed by a retired judge, and claimed that metro ridership on three different days in October this year were higher than the last year.However, an RTI query, revealed last month that the Delhi Metro lost over three lakh commuters a day after the steep fare hike came into effect on October 10.Puri had said that the dip in ridership could not be linked to the fare hike, which, the metro said, was necessary for maintaining “efficiency”.The metro fare hike has led to a rise of around Rs 10 for nearly every distance slab. The decision had come barely five months after the previous hike of up to 100 per cent.

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‘Absurd’ to suggest Delhiites bought expensive cars after Metro fare hike, says Union minister Hardeep Puri