Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said today his ministry would “examine the issues” raised by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the proposed fare hike by the Delhi Metro. “The chief minister has written a letter to me which I received yesterday. We are going through the letter in different ways…There has been no increase in metro fare for last eight years. “So you decide how to run Delhi metro. One way is to make it like DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation), and people are aware about the situation of DTC… We will take a decision on this after proper examination. Our priority is to see that the passengers of Delhi Metro can get proper facilities,” he told reporters here. He said some people have raised concerns over the fare hike, saying that the burden should not fall on the taxpayers.
A housing and urban affairs (HUA) ministry spokesperson said that Puri had asked ministry secretary D S Mishra to examine the issues raised by Kejriwal over the proposed fare hike. Terming the fare increase as “unacceptable”, Kejriwal had written to Puri, demanding that the decision be withheld and reviewed. Kejriwal has stiffly opposed the planned hike, to be effected from October 10, and yesterday claimed that it would a violation of the recommendations of the fare-fixation panel.
“The fare-fixation committee had recommended a gap of one year between two fare hikes. This recommendation is being completely violated because the proposed second hike in October, 2017 will take place even before six months since the previous fare hike,” he said in the letter to Puri. The committee, comprising representatives of both the state and the Centre, which have equal stakes in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), is entrusted with recommending fare hikes.
The Delhi Metro fares were last revised in May. If the hike is effected, the fares will go up by a maximum of Rs 10 from October 10. The Delhi Metro, on its part, has been maintaining that it has a “huge loan liability” and a rapidly rising operating ratio, which means its expenditure as against every rupee earned is going up. In his letter, Kejriwal had referred to the financial model of the Hong Kong Metro and suggested that following it would significantly improve DMRC’s finances and lead to a much lower fare hike.
He also mentioned that his assertion was based on the “advise” of the fare-fixation panel. “The fare-fixation committee has advised the DMRC to raise funds through real estate development from the large number of properties allotted to it by the government. “If this is done efficiently and transparently, the resultant income will help reduce the fare of the ordinary commuter, as in the case of the Hong Kong Metro,” a statement quoted the chief minister as saying.