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Kejriwal requests Union Min to direct DMRC to withhold fare hike, raises 5 points

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has requested the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri to direct the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to withhold the unjustified fare hike, till its decision is jointly reviewed by the Central and Delhi governments.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Kejriwal writes to Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Metro fare hike
• The CM has pointed out the DMRC has violated recommendations of the Fare Fixation Committee
• The CM has stated that the Union Minister can use provisions of DMRC Act to issue relevant directions to the Metro officials to put the fare hike on hold for now.

In a letter to the union minister, the Chief Minister has also requested that since the Centre and Delhi governments equally own the DMRC, its Board meeting should be convened to stay the proposed fare hike.
Kejriwal has requested Puri to “direct the DMRC under section 86 of the Delhi Metro Railway (Operation and Maintenance) Act 2002 to withhold any fare hike till the entire matter is reviewed jointly by the Central Government and the GNCTD.”

The Chief Minister has pointed out that residents of Delhi are still reeling under the impact of the previous steep fare hike by the DMRC in the month of May, and the proposed second fare hike from 10th October “will be simply unacceptable” in this time of economic distress.

5 Main points
The Chief Minister has highlighted the following main reasons in his letter to prove how the DMRC has made an erroneous decision:

(a) The Fare Fixation Committee had recommended a gap of one year between two fare hikes. This recommendation is being completely violated because the proposed second hike in October 2017 will take place before even six months are over after implementation of the previous fare hike.

(b) The Fare Fixation Committee has recommended that from 2019 onwards, the annual fare hike should take care of inflation etc. but should not exceed 7% per annum. This principle is being completely overlooked in the fare hikes being planned for 2017, which put together will exceed 80% in one year alone. In several slabs, the increase will be 100%, which is quite appalling. There is no reason why the principles to be followed from 2019 onwards should be completely violated in 2017

(c) The Fare Fixation Committee has advised DMRC to improve productivity on the lines followed by Hong Kong Metro. This would significantly improve the finances of DMRC and lead to a much lower increase in fares.

(d) It is a well-accepted principle that organisations must continuously improve their efficiency in order to reduce costs. No such initiatives are noticeable in the case of DMRC and their effort is to pass on all costs and inefficiencies in the form of a higher fare to be imposed on the ordinary commuters.

(e) Again, giving the example of Hong Kong Metro, the Fare Fixation Committee has advised DMRC to raise funds through real estate development from the large number of properties allotted to DMRC by the Government. If this is done efficiently and transparently, the resultant income will help reduce the fare of the ordinary commuter, as in the case of Hong Kong Metro.

The Chief Minister has concluded that he hopes the Central government will support the Delhi government on this issue in the interests of the common man.

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