Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today raised the issue of hike in metro fare with Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at the inauguration of Majlis Park-Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus section of the Pink Line, with the latter saying the Centre cannot do anything about it. However, both of them agreed to discuss issues involving Metro phase four and other matters over lunch next week. Addressing a gathering here, Kejriwal requested Puri to reduce metro fare, which was increased a few months back, and sought a collective solution to the issue. “I want to say that metro fare has been hiked a little too much. I am not blaming anyone for this. I am not finger-pointing at anyone… if we can work together, including the Delhi government, Centre and the metro, we can find a solution to it. “Fare fixation committee had increased fares of metro, and I believe that fare fixation committee will set an example by reducing fares this time,” the chief minister said. He said since the AAP formed government in Delhi, there has been no hike in power tariff, but before that electricity rates used to be increased every year. On the metro’s phase four project, the chief minister claimed that some routes are not financially viable and said some routes, which are financially viable, can be cleared at the earliest while the others which don’t have finance viability can be postponed for later.
In a lighter vein, Kejriwal said that he was waiting for the lunch as promised by the Housing and Urban Affairs Minister recently, adding that he and Puri would sort out all issues over the lunch. On his part, the Union housing and urban affairs minister invited the chief minister for lunch next week and assured that all issues including metro fare hike and Metro Phase four project will be resolved. Responding to Kejriwal’s demand about reduction in metro fares, Puri reminded him of lack of bus service in the national capital. “We are delighted that we are doing well on metro front. I want to share that when I just asked the CM on bus front, he has assured me that 2,000 buses will be added to the existing fleet by the end of this year, and we will soon make up deficit and that should be the story of all our cities,” Puri said.
The Union minister said that if his recommendations are accepted, there should be no fare hike in next year and thereafter. “We should look for alternative revenue sources, including advertisements, he said, adding the governments are committed to providing world-class facilities to citizens. “It was for that reason that a decision was taken that the pricing of metro (fares) should not be left on either the Centre or the state government… a fare fixation committee decides whether fares should be increased or not… I cannot influence the committee,” Puri said.
The Union minister also sought a plan to provide relief to students and senior citizens from metro fare hike. The AAP dispensation and the Centre had been at loggerheads on the issue of metro fare hike. Kejriwal had written to Puri demanding reduction in hiked metro fare.