The stay on Metro fare hike will continue with the Bombay High Court scheduling a hearing on August 22 in the matter. The court was hearing several petitions on Thursday, including one by the Mumbai Metropolitan Area Develop-ment Authority, challenging the report of the Fare Fixation Committee and the proposal by Reliance-Infra-run Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL).
A division bench comprising Justices VM Kanade and MS Sonak also directed the Maharashtra government to file its affidavit clarifying its stand on the issue. The committee had allowed MMOPL to charge a tariff of Rs 10-110 for the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro in July. Based on the committee’s recommendations, the MMOPL had announced a maximum fare hike of Rs 5 from December 1, 2015, taking its maximum tariff for single journeys to Rs 45 from the present Rs 40.
Last year, the HC had stayed the proposal on fare hike in an ad-interim order. MMOPL had challenged the order in the apex court, which did not grant it any relief, and instead asked it to approach the High Court to decide the issue.
Senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, who represents MMOPL argued that the company was incurring operation losses up to Rs. one crore each day. “The Mumbai Metro is not operating because of the good wishes of any government but because of the capital the company has invested. MMRDA was to bring in funds worth Rs 1,500 crore but it bargained and ended up paying only Rs 600 crore. We had to take loans from several institutions,” Dwarkadas argued.