Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said the state government would appeal against the Bombay High Court’s order of January 8 allowing a fare hike on the city’s first Metro rail as demanded by the Reliance Infrastructure-led Metro operator, the the Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL).
While dismissing the state government’s petition challenging the MMOPL decision to hike the tariff for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail, the HC had allowed the latter to raise the fare to Rs 10-40 from the prevailing Rs 10-20, quashing the state’s demand of going by the concession agreement and adhering to an initial fare structure of Rs 9-13.
A Union government-constituted Fare Fixation Committee will look into the tariff revision.
Fadnavis, who met Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu in Delhi on Saturday, said, “The minister has now constituted the Fare Fixation Committee. We will seek a stay on the fare hike.”
The formation of this committee, which was seen as crucial after the fare war between the state government and the MMOPL, was delayed as the Union government had failed to act on the file for three months. The court had been insisting that the committee should be formed at the earliest.
A state government source said that during the meeting, Naidu also assured Fadnavis that he would look into the causes for the delay in the formation of this committee.
The Maharashtra government had first conveyed the state’s nominated member to the committee as retired bureaucrat Subodh Kumar on June 12 last year. More than a month later, on July 17, the Union urban development ministry responded by requesting the state government to reconsider the nominated member, as Kumar by then had become associated with the private sector. Within days, the state re-nominated Kumar on July 28.
The Union government, on September 18, sent the names of the three nominated members to the Prime Minister-led Department of Personnel and Training. After nearly three months, the urban development ministry conveyed to the state government on December 10 that a different person should be nominated given Kumar’s links with the private sector. In a week, on December 18, the Maharashtra government nominated Jayant Kumar Banthia, another retired bureaucrat, and the matter had been pending with the Union government since then.
On Thursday, the Bombay High Court had also remarked that the Union government’s delay in forming the Fare Fixation Committee was unfortunate and set a deadline of January 31 for the same.