Moily keeps his promise to use public transport

Petroleum minister finds Metro very convenient; saves time and fuel

 
By Ruchita Bansal
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

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Union petroleum minister Veerappa Moily’s Metro ride to his office this Wednesday was different from his debut trip on October 9. He was not mobbed by media and commuters this time.

Moily has promised to use public transport to reach his office every Wednesday to promote fuel conservation and help cut India’s $ 5 billion oil import bill. While walking towards the Metro station on Wednesday, he insisted those accompanying him should walk on the footpath. While crossing the road, he asked his security personnel not to stop traffic for him. “Till the time, government officials don’t experience the problems of the public, they won’t be able to come up with any solution. So, I want my ride to be same as that of any other common man using public transport to reach his workplace,” he said.

Moily and those accompanying him were seen carrying their own Metro smart cards. As he got inside the Metro, passengers appreciated his commitment to save fuel. A few of them also spoke to the minister about his future plans.

Moily got down at Central Secretariat station, from where he walked to his office at Shastri Bhawan. Even while getting off the Metro, he asked his staff not to stop people boarding the train or getting out of the exit gates of the station.

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Rs 2 crore saved on first Bus Day
 
Union minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Veerappa Moily, spoke to Ruchita Bansal on his experience of taking the Metro to work. Excerpts:

How do you feel taking the Metro to the office?

I find it quite convenient as I just need to walk for five minutes to reach Metro station in the morning. My office is only two stops away and it takes me only 20 minutes to reach office, which is less than the time it takes by car. I don’t have to face the peak-hour traffic.

You recently announced Wednesday as “Bus Day”. Then why haven’t you tried boarding a bus too?

I would have loved that too but my office is better connected via Race Course Metro station. I wish I could travel by bus someday soon.

How have your colleagues responded to the notification you issued announcing Wednesday as “public transport day”?

My colleagues and people from the ministry have responded well. Many officials have stopped bringing their own vehicles on Wednesdays. A few of them are using cycles, shared services or public transport to commute. On October 9, we had saved petrol worth Rs 2 crore and we hope to do the same today as well.

Are you planning any more measures to make this initiative successful?

Yes, a few things are in the pipeline. For instance, we have sent a proposal if the work hours can be made flexible so that officials and other staff can avoid peak hours and commute as per their convenience.
 
Many commuters complain that Delhi lacks convenient access to means of public transport as they are not well integrated. Your comments

Yes, that is a major concern and many of our employees have also faced inconvenience. The managing director of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) had to walk several kilometres to reach his office on October 9 as the public transport connectivity to his office is really poor. We hope the government will take some steps to improve the integration so that we can see more people using public transport.

Have you requested other ministries to follow suit?

Yes, I have already sent letters to other ministries, requesting them to do the same. But they are yet to respond. I hope to get a positive response as only a collective effort can help us save our nation from an energy crisis.

How does your family respond to you taking the Metro?

My family is quite excited. My wife says that I should take a Metro every day and set an example.
 
Are you planning to use Metro more than once a week?

I would love to do that but I do not know how my colleagues will respond to it as most of them avoid their personal vehicles on Wednesdays just because I do it. Doing this everyday would mean they will feel more pressurized and unhappy. So, I think that first everyone in the ministry should make it a habit to use public transport one day a week. Later, we can increase the number of days.

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