Mumbai : Learning from the complications that lack of a clear mechanism created in deciding the fare on the city’s Metro corridor, the Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has decided to come up with clear guidelines for the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC). With many cities across the country coming up with Metro projects on varied financial models, MoUD has set up a committee to decide the functioning and what factors are to be considered while recommending fares.

Currently, the FFC, which is appointed by MoUD under the Central Metro Act to determine the fare for a Metro corridor, does not have any guidelines or parameters for fixing fares.

According to senior official of the MoUD, they have sought remarks of all metro corporation heads across India to get common guidelines for FFC. “With many Metro going for operations in various cities common guidelines are needed. Currently, there is no prescribed formula or mechanism in the Act to fix metro fares,” said an official of MoUD on condition of anonymity.

In case of Mumbai’s first metro corridor, the FFC determined the fares by studying submissions made to the committee by Reliance Infra and the Maharashtra government as well as people’s suggestions at the public hearing meeting. Former chief secretary of Maharashtra, Jayant Banthia who was one of the three-members of fare fixation committee for Metro-I, said, “There are no basic guidelines mentioned, so we had to evolve this. Whatever guidelines is there it’s given in the National Transport Policy which says about affordable transport cost.”

The FFC recommended a steep hike increase in fare by Rs 10 for every subsequent station, so the fare between Versova and Ghatkopar could go up to Rs 110. City’s development authority, MMRDA and Reliance-led MMOPL are still battling over the recommended fares, with the former moved the High Court against the proposed fare.

The MoUD is now setting up a committee which would have around two to three managing directors from Metro Corporations of the country. The committee will get its issues listed; also decide what factors are to be taken into account by the FFC and have some base for FFC, the official added.

Meanwhile, a State government official said that in Mumbai’s case the complexities were added because the project was on Public-Private-Partnership model unlike the Delhi Metro. “Many cities are coming up with MRT projects, some on DMRC, and some on a PPP model. Hyderabad metro is on PPP model where the concession agreement dictates the fares, but there too there will be an issue like Mumbai at a later stage unless there are well defined guidelines,” a state government official said. “In my FFC recommendation judgment, which is the defending judgment of FFC, I have tried to give certain guidelines for PPP model projects,” Banthia added.

 Swapnil Rawal

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