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Metro fare hike should be put on hold, DMRC accounts be audited: Kejriwal

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said all the income and expenditure details related to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation should be put in public domain and the decision to hike fares should be put on hold till the Central and Delhi Governments examine all its relevant files.

Kejriwal said there is an immediate need for an independent audit of the DMRC accounts, since residents of Delhi have already experienced how the private power distribution companies (Discoms) used to hike power tariffs by showing fake losses. It is only since 2015 that there have been no power tarrif hikes in Delhi.

In response to the reported comments of the Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri that though the Central government was examining the letter of the Chief Minister, but Metro fares need to be hiked, Kejriwal said,“If the commuters would not be able to use the Metro because of high fares, what would be the utility of running the Metro.”

The Chief Minister stated that Delhi Government is of the firm view that the fare hike should be put on hold for at least a period of three-four months, till the Central and Delhi governments examine all relevant details of the fare hike proposal.

The Chief Minister has pointed out that the elected government of Delhi had strongly opposed the fare hike in the Fare Fixation Committee meeting that took place in September last year.

Kejriwal stated that it was unfair on the part of the committee to have overlooked the objections of the elected government, particularly when the views were placed in writing, by having put on record the Delhi government’s letter written to the DMRC on 30th June 2016, which is now in public domain.

The Chief Minister said if the Fare Fixation Committee wants to function in a manner in which the views of the elected government could be ignored, then there is no point in future for the Delhi government to nominate any representative and such a Committee can function the way it wants.

Kejriwal said the argument that DMRC needs a steep fare hike for repaying its outstanding loan and for covering its operational costs is highly flawed. On the contrary, the Delhi Metro needs to increase its efficiency.

The Chief Minister stated there is an immediate need to maintain a balance between the operational needs of the Delhi Metro and the interests of commuters for whom the Metro services are a lifeline.

He reiterated that DMRC should follow the financial model of the Hong Kong Metro, instead of burdening the commuters with repeated hikes.

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