Four days after the phase II of the Metro fare hike was implemented, the Centre, in a letter to the state government, said the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is not a Centre or a State public sector undertaking and that “…it is a Board-run government company, therefore the state has no authority to make an inquiry into DMRC affairs”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had asked Chief Secretary M M Kutty to ensure the Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) sets up an inquiry into whether the “Metro fare hike is justified and if it could have been avoided”.
After Kutty refused to issue a letter with regard to the enquiry, Kejriwal had, on Friday, alleged that Kutty has “refused to abide” by his orders. In a statement, Kejriwal had said, “This makes it clear that the chief secretary has the backing of the BJP-led Centre and is sabotaging the Delhi government’s efforts to send relief to the people by conducting an inquiry into the fare hike.”
On Saturday, Mukund Kumar Sinha, Officer on Special Duty (Urban Transport), stated, “The Fare Fixations of the Metro companies is prescribed under Chapter VII of Metro Railways (Operations and Maintenance) Act 2002… Section 37 of this Act mandates the recommendations of the Committee to be binding on the Metro Rail Administration (MRA). Therefore, neither the state nor the central government has any authority to enquire into the recommendations of statutorily constituted Fare Fixation Committee.”
In phase II of the Metro fare hike, ticket prices went up by a maximum of Rs 10, and apart from members of AAP, student groups and some commuters too have been protesting it. The letter from the Centre, addressed to Kutty, also added, “I am directed to request you not to order inquiry into the fare hike or various other matters… it is informed that neither DDC nor Delhi government has competence to do so.”
In response to the letter, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, said, “We are saying there should be an enquiry into the fare hike… but BJP has sent a letter saying it cannot happen. The BJP should answer what bungling they have done in the Metro in the last three years that they won’t let an enquiry happen.”