New Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Monday refused to defer metro fare hike despite Delhi chief minister Kejriwal’s opposition to it. The board members discussed Kejriwal’s proposal but decided to go ahead with recommendations of Fare Fixation Committee (FCC), to be made effective from October 10.
Nominee directors of the Delhi government conveyed that the CM wanted the postponement of the fare hike and formation of a new FFC. The Board was informed that under Section 37 of the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002, recommendations of the FFC are binding on metro rail authorities.
Subsequently, the Board noted that it does not have the authority to consider/defer implementation of the recommendations of the FFC.
Kejriwal had written to the Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry to issue a direction to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to put on hold the proposed hike in fares, as recommended by 4th Fare Fixation Committee (FCC).
The Centre has informed the Delhi government that the Metro Act does not allow it to put on hold the hike in Delhi Metro fares which will be effective from October 10, an official had said on Saturday.
The Centre, however, said a fresh committee to fix fares could be considered if the Delhi government agrees to provide over Rs 3,000 crore every year to DMRC, said the source, quoting a letter sent on Friday by union minister Hardeep Singh Puri to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in response to Kejriwal’s letter, said, “Your suggestion that this ministry direct that the fare increase be kept on hold overlooks the fact the central government does not have any such authority. Tampering with the recommendations of FFC is legally untenable.”
Fares will go up by a maximum of Rs 10 after the latest hike comes into effect.
The existing fare structure is: up to 2 kms – Rs 10, 2-5 kms – Rs 15, 5-12 kms – Rs 20, 12-21 kms – Rs 30, 21-32 kms – Rs 40 and for journeys beyond 32 kms – Rs 50.
From October 10, for a distance of up to two kilometres, the fare will remain Rs 10, but for a distance between two and five kilometres, it will go up from Rs 15 to Rs 20. For the subsequent slabs, it will go up by Rs 10 each, which means the maximum fare will be Rs 60.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against the Metro fare hike which is set to be enforced from Tuesday. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that a hike in Metro fares will benefit cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber.
Last week, the Centre informed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that it cannot put on hold the proposed hike unless his government provides Rs 3,000 crore annually to DMRC as grant-in-aid for the next five years. Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri told Kejriwal that the Metro Act does not allow the Centre to put on hold the fare hike.
In response, Arvind Kejriwal said that the Delhi government was ready to pay Rs 1,500 crore a year, if the Centre was ready to fund the other half as the “Central government and the Delhi government are 50-50 owners of DMRC”.
“As for your suggestion regarding a grant to DMRC for meeting the gap in their operating finances, my government is willing to bear half the grant if only a matching grant is provided by the Central government,” the Delhi chief minister wrote to Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
In the Delhi Assembly today, transport minister Kailash Gahlot said that Delhi Metro was not made to be a world-class profitable venture but it’ll be world class when people leave their vehicles and use it. Other members of the ruling AAP said that they will protest if Metro fares are hiked.