There’s some good news for Mumbaikars as there will be no hike in the city’s Metro fare rates till January 29. This follows the Bombay High Court order on Thursday staying Mumbai Metro fare hike until the final hearing of MMRDA’s plea challenging fare fixation committee report. The stay was granted by a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka which said that the hike should not be implemented until the final hearing of the petition, filed by Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA). Sanjay Nirupam, head of Congress party in Mumbai, also filed an intervention application challenging the hike. His plea has been taken up for hearing along with the petition filed by MMRDA.
Right to information (RTI) activist Anil Galgali has welcomed the decision. Mumbai Metro One (MMOPL), a subsidiary of Reliance Energy, which is operating the Versova-Ghatkopar corridor, had earlier announced that it will increase the fares by Rs 5 from December 1. Instead of the earlier slabs of Rs 10, 20, 30 and 40, the proposed new structure will have five slabs of Rs 10, 20, 25, 35 and 45. The fare slabs per trip for the return journey token category have been similarly revamped from Rs 10, 15, 25 and 30 to Rs 10, 20, 22.50, 30 and 35. The company had cited financial losses incurred by it the reason for this fare revision.
However, MMRDA, which had commissioned the Mumbai Metro, has challenged the hike. Nirupam has alleged that the central government was facilitating private profiteering by allowing multiple fare hikes. He demanded that there should be a fare hike every four years, as per the agreement, and not frequently. The Fare Fixation Committee constituted by the Central Government for the Mumbai Metro One, the 1st PPP project implemented in Mumbai for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor didn’t take into account the public’s view, according to Galgali. Galgali has also alleged that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis misled Mumbaikars on the issue of the appointment of a fare fixation committee (FFC).