No Metro fare hike  till audit report: CM

Mumbai : In what may come as a relief to Mumbaikars, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday made a statement assuring that fare of the Metro will not be hiked until the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report of the project is submitted. Meanwhile, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has sought intervention of the Union Ministry of Urban Development for either reviewing the recommendations of the Fare Fixation Committee or setting up of a new committee.

Minister of state (urban development) Ranjit Patil and metropolitan commissioner UPS Madan met Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday and requested MoUD to review the recommendation of FFC. A three-member FFC, led by a retired SC judge, had earlier recommended increasing the fare of the Mumbai Metro service, up to Rs 110.

“MoUD’s joint secretary Mukund Kumar Sinha, who is also a director on the MMOPL board, has already suggested that the FFC recommendations should be reviewed. But since the constitution of the board is being Reliance-led that it wasn’t paid heed to. Now, FFC is a body created by the Centre and they have the power to review it or set up a new committee,” said a senior MMRDA official requesting anonymity. MPs Kirit Somaiya and Gopal Shetty too accompanied the minister and have requested FFC recommendations should be “rejected” and “new FFC should be appointed with a proper reference,” a letter to Naidu stated.

Last month, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), as part of a sectoral audit of all Metro projects, initiated a scrutiny of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro. The project has been in a dispute over cost escalation and subsequent demands by its operator for an increase in fare.

[alert type=”e.g. warning, danger, success, info” title=””]Sena protests proposed hike

Shiv Sena workers on Monday evening protested against the proposed fare hike outside Ghatkopar Metro railway station. According to Rajendra Raut, Vibhag Pramukh, Mumbai North East region of the party, if fares are hiked to such steep level then metro is out of the reach of a common man. “Earlier they had decided to operate at fares of Rs 9 to Rs 13 now they hiked it up to Rs 40. Again this committee has raised it maximum to Rs 110. This is a fraud with the people of Mumbai. How is this public transport system if common man cannot use it,” asked Raut.[/alert]

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