Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Delhi government warns DMRC of 'strict action'

The hike is proposed to be implemented on October 10 The hike is proposed to be implemented on October 10
Melissa Porter | 08 October, 2017, 08:43

Earlier, Kejriwal had written to the housing and urban affairs ministry to issue a direction to DMRC to put on hold the proposed hike in fares, as recommended by the 4th Fare Fixation Committee (FFC).

The DMRC defended its announcement of increasing fares by saying that the input costs had gone up over the years which is why the fares needed to be increased.

The minister said that as the DMRC managing director was nominated by the state government in consultation with the Centre, as per rules he was expected to put forward the view of the city government in its board meeting.

Four days ahead of the scheduled Metro fare hike, the Delhi government on Friday warned the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) chief, Mangu Singh, of strict action if it went ahead with the proposed increase in ticket prices.

Set up by the Central government previous year to see the case for and recommend a price hike, the three-member FFC, comprising a nominee each from the Central and the Delhi governments and a retired judge of Delhi High Court, had approved a two-phase hike in May. The Delhi Metro fares were just last revised in May.

"Neither the Central Government nor the State Government or even the Board of the Company has legal power to change the recommendations made by the FFC".

"The fares are decided by the FFC which has judges from the High Court on its panel as well.The Delhi government can give its observations/recommendations, but these are not binding on the Metro or the Centre in any way".

Referring to the suggestion of putting the fare hike on hold, Puri noted that the alternative is to provide to the DMRC grants-in-aid every year over the next five years starting from 2017-18 to the tune of Rs.3,040 cr, Rs.3,616 cr, Rs.3,318 cr, Rs.3,150 cr and Rs.2,980 cr for 2021-22 to meet loan repayment liabilities to JICA, depreciation for replacements and operational expenses with no savings to DMRC. "You will agree that it is factually incorrect to suggest that there are two hikes in the fare in the short duration of five months, rather it is one fare increase staggered in two instalments to take care of the gap of seven and a half years", Puri has written. Kejriwal had also written to Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, demanding that the decision be withheld and reviewed. Quoting FFC, the letter said that while the non-fare revenue in places like Hong Kong was over 40-60%, the count was just 23% for Delhi Metro.

In his letter, Puri also expressed concern over a 15-month delay in completion of Metro Phase III and Phase IV running behind schedule, and pinned the blame on the Delhi government.