Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has proposed that the Metro fare hike be put on hold until the Delhi Metro’s accounts are audited. Kejriwal compared the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) with Delhi discoms and said an audit was necessary since, in the past, private power distribution companies would hike electricity charges while allegedly showing “fake losses”.
The DMRC said it wants to hike fares as it has a “huge loan liability”, and a rapidly rising operating ratio, which means its expenditure as against every rupee earned is going up.
Kejriwal termed this contention as “flawed” and said the Metro needs to increase its efficiency. Kejriwal, in a statement issued by the Delhi government, also said the “income and expenditure details of the DMRC should be put in public domain”.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also opposed the fare hike, saying the spirit of Metro is not to profit but to provide a safe and reliable transport system. He reacted to Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s comment that the Centre will not allow the Metro to become another DTC.
Sisodia said, “The DTC may be suffering losses, but it was at least serving the people.” He added that if Metro ridership was coming down, as per RTI data, then its entire purpose of bringing down use of private vehicles is lost.
The Delhi government has proposed that the hike be put on hold for three-four months, till the proposal is examined by the Centre and Delhi government.
Meanwhile, a DMRC source said, “The DMRC is not a private company that will fabricate its revenue and expenditure figures. DMRC accounts are audited by CAG and are in public domain.”
The BJP Sunday attacked the AAP government on the issue. “Around a week ago, we had opposed Metro fare hike. But the AAP did not raise any concerns then. The government has a 50 per cent stake in the DMRC and fares cannot be increased without their consent. The transport minister and the CM knew about the fake hike and allowed it,” said Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.