Govt asks DMRC to put off impending fare hike, Arvind Kejriwal calls it ‘anti-people’

The first phase of fare hike took place in May this year, and the second phase of the increase is to be implemented October onwards — under which ticket prices will go up by maximum Rs 10.

Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi | Updated: September 29, 2017 4:53 am
DMRC, Delhi Metro, Delhi Metro fares, Delhi Metro fare hike, delhi news Delhi Metro fares were hiked in May this year. (Express photo)

Terming the upcoming Delhi Metro fare hike “anti-people”, CM Arvind Kejriwal Thursday directed Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot to “come up with solutions to stop it within a week.”

The first phase of fare hike took place in May this year, and the second phase of the increase is to be implemented October onwards — under which ticket prices will go up by maximum Rs 10.

The issue, which might snowball into another political flashpoint between the Centre and the state, had begun soon after the initial hike in May, said a Delhi government official. The Delhi government had written to the DMRC in June 2016 “asking them to not increase fares” and a “decision to hike the prices was taken nonetheless,” the official added.

In a meeting held with Dr Mangu Singh, Chief of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Gahlot said, “After looking at relevant files, I have directed the DMRC chief to put the plans of fare hike in October on hold…till the Delhi government has examined the reasons behind this hike, and the facts kept in mind for the hike.”

Gahlot further added, “As the Transport Minister of Delhi and keeping in mind the larger interest of the people who travel by the Metro, I have directed the DMRC to do this…now the problems and difficulties they have…whether they will follow this order immediately or not remains to be seen.”

In his order to the DMRC, Gahlot added, “It is not clear as to whether the stand of the Delhi government was considered by the Fare Fixation Committee. The government is in the process of examining the entire matter.” “The Delhi Metro is directed to put on hold any further hike till the Delhi government completes its inquiry and forms an opinion on this subject,” Gahlot said in the order.

However, sources claimed that DMRC has a huge loan liability: as on March 31, 2017, DMRC has taken a loan of Rs 26,760.28 crore from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and has repaid only Rs 3,770.79 crore (interest of Rs 2,263.67 crore and repayment of principal Rs 1,507.12 crore).

Sources further claimed that for every Re 1 received from operation, the surplus available to the DMRC is Rs 0.26 during the year 2016-17. Out of this, DMRC spent Rs 0.27 towards servicing the debt i.e. JICA loan. The net loss before tax for the year 2016-17 is Rs 378.29 crore.

Sources added that there has been an increase in energy, staff, repair and maintenance costs between March 2009 and March 2017. “Energy cost in 2009 was Rs 3.21 per unit; in 2017, it is Rs 6.58 per increase of 105 per cent,” a source said. Likewise, there has been a 139 per cent hike in staff cost between March 2009 and March 2017; and a 213 per cent hike in repair and maintenance costs in the same period, sources claimed.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari has also called upon the DMRC management to “review its decision of tariff hike” while asking for their justification for the hike. “Metro has not provided commuters any new facilities nor reduced congestion to justify any steep hike,” he said.

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  1. C
    Col S
    Oct 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm
    DMRC has become a LAW UNTO ITSELF.Imagine it allows LOOT of Commuters by Signing agreement with food stall at SHIVAJI Metro station . 150 ml glass of LASSI is sold at RS 130 where as Mother Pack of 200 ml costs Rs15. DMRC. LG and CM claim it as per LAW of the LAND. This law over rides all other laws - PCA and Consumer Protection. Shame on DMRC and the administration.
    1. Alex Glock
      Sep 29, 2017 at 6:24 pm
      Why doesn't Kejriwal provide subsidy to DMRC from Delhi govt's budget. DMRC is incurring losses. If they don't increase the fares then who will cover the losses. Kejriwal wants to have the cake and eat it too.
      1. R
        Sep 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm
        Good god. Let the people decide on the revenue based on the expenditure they occur. Please stop with this anti-people whenever there is a price hike. No wonder everything, from Air India, to the Railways is suffering because of politicians like these. Be it BJP, or Congress, or AAP, or TMC. I appeal. PLEASE take decisions based on economics and/or simple maths. Not because you want votes for stupid populist policies.
        1. M
          Sep 29, 2017 at 11:58 am
          Was disappointed at Arvind acting Mamata or Karat. We are in 2017. Arvind is a trained IIT product. It defies all logic if he opposes such sensible decisions. Delhi is lucky getting DMRC service- best and cheapest. Besides, the Delhi "poor" are rich in comparison with the rural poor, who get no cash incomes except MNREGA wages. Delhi poor live in luxury and have regular cash incomes. If the idea is to help them financially, give them concession in monthly pass on BPL status/ Aadhaar basis but others are prepared to pay for good , comfortable and timely service. Abandon discredit style of past politics and try healthier practice. Give the DMRC what they demand and demand of the DMRC what the users demand: best services comparable with London or any other city of Arvind's fancy!
          1. Muralidaran Raghavan
            Sep 29, 2017 at 6:13 am
            Any amount of argument will not rescue the set of immutured narrow minded IDEALIST for the ruining of the indian economy in the worst way in the past70 years stead of accepting the failure and correcting it he is arguing like a criminal lawyer justifies his maturity in arguing.Lawyers should not be assigned any important potipolio in ministry because of their mindset.His argument in many occasions in parliament also exposes his arrogance.How ever he alone cannot be blamed because he knows about denominations in the last minute .we have to appreciate yaswant singapur inspite of knowing his minister son will be demoted like Gujarat judge bold enough to give his free opinion.Next all government watch dogs will keep eye on him Department of dirty tricks and BJP IT cell will act.Even defamation case will be filed.
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