Hardeep Singh Puri, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, told the Delhi government that it would need to pay Rs 3,000 crore annually for five years if it wants to stop the Metro fare hike, scheduled for October 10. The minister added that the Centre does not have the authority to suspend the hike.
The DMRC is set to implement its second fare revision in eight years on Tuesday — a decision that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal deemed “anti-people”. AAP has also threatened to launch a protest over the hike. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had initially asked for the matter to be reviewed, but later changed his stance and criticised AAP for attempting to “mislead the public”.
In his letter, Puri wrote, “In case the state government agrees to provide grants-in-aid of nearly Rs 3,000 crore per annum to DMRC, then another FFC (Fare Fixation Committee) may be constituted, which may also examine DMRC’s financial viability.”
The FFC had suggested the hike. Maintaining that as per Metro guidelines, operational loss is the responsibility of the state government, Puri added, “Your suggestion that this Ministry direct that the fare increase be kept on hold overlooks the fact the Centre does not have any such authority. Tampering with the recommendations of the FFC is legally untenable.” Delhi government sources said the CM is yet to receive the letter.
On October 2, Kejriwal had asked for an independent audit of the DMRC, alleging that private power companies in Delhi had previously shown fake losses to justify a tariff hike.
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.
Delhi Metro’s minimum fare was hiked from Rs 8 to Rs 10 and the maximum from Rs 30 to Rs 50 in May this year. If the fares are increased on October 10, those travelling more than 2 km will need to pay Rs 5-10 more.