The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the fare hike, effected by Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) for Metro commuters in the city, and asked a panel appointed by the Central government to decide the issue on fixation of fare by April.
A bench led y Justice Dipak Misra, however, asked MMOPL to deposit 50 per cent of differential amount, which will be accrued due to the hike in fare, with the apex court registry on a weekly basis.
“The fare fixation committee shall follow the procedures, law and rules made thereunder. Till the committee decides the issue, MMOPL and petitioner (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) would be at liberty to collect enhanced fare following the decision of the Bombay High Court,” said the bench, while posting the matter for further hearing on May 6.
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Earlier, senior advocate P Chiadambaram, appearing for MMOPL, said that the firm has been losing more than Rs 60 lakh per day and the decision to hike the fare hike was taken by its board.
“The current fare band, which was between Rs 10 and Rs 20, was promotional,” said the lawyer, adding the new fare was between Rs 10 to Rs 40 for for the 11.4 km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor, the first phase of metro in Mumbai. Senior advocate K K Venugopal, who was representing MMRDA, argued against the hike saying this was a matter of larger public interest at this stage and that the plea that fare should be “trued up” could be done sometime later. “The fare should be Rs 9 to Rs 13,” he said.
The travel by Mumbai metro became costlier on January one as the MMOPL increased the fares following Bombay High Court’s order a day before. The private company, a consortium consisting of state government agency MMRDA and Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure, had told the high court that it was incurring losses at the existing ticket rates of Rs 10, Rs 15 and Rs 20.
MMOPL, which commenced operations of the Mumbai metro in June 2014, had fixed the initial tariff range at Rs 10-40.
However, the state government had taken Reliance Infra to the High Court insisting that the metro fares should be as per the concession agreement that set it between Rs 9 and Rs 13. The eventual rates has to be decided by Fare Fixation Committee, the MMRDA had said.