Centre can not put Delhi Metro fare hike on hold, says Minister

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The Centre, however, said a fresh committee to fix fares could be considered if the Delhi government agrees to provide over Rs 3,000 crore every year to DMRC, said the source, qouting a letter sent on Friday by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

"Since the Central Government bears 100 per cent of loss for Kolkata Metro, I see no difficulty if it bears 50 per cent in case of Delhi".

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The Minister also used the opportunity to hit out at the Delhi government holding it responsible for the 15-month delay in the completion of the Phase III of Delhi metro and Phase IV, which is running two-and-a-half years behind schedule. The DMRC was set-up in 1995 with equal equity from the Central government and Delhi government.

He has added if the fares are not increased as per the recommendations of the FFC, the total grants-in-aid required in the next five years starting from 2017-18 till 2021-22 would be Rs 3,040 crore, 3,616 crore, 3,318 crore, 3,150 crore and 2,980 crore respectively to take care of loan repayments, depreciation for replacements and operational expenses with no savings to DMRC.

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On increase in the fare of metro twice in five months, the minister said that FFC recommended that the fare hike, which last happened in 2009, should be divided into two instalments, therefore, one came into force in May this year and the second increase will be effective from 10th October. The Delhi State Government has been asking DMRC to hold the second phase of fare hike - which will come into effect from October 10 while the Central Government is stating that fare hike can not be kept on hold. "In case the government agrees to provide grants-in-aid of almost ₹3,000 crore per annum to the DMRC, then another fare fixation committee may be constituted", he said in his letter. IANS further reported that the letter also said that an assessment should also be made of the financial gap likely to be created on account of the postponement of the second fare hike.

Board has three Delhi government representatives: the chief secretary, principal secretary (finance) and the transport secretary. If the fares are increased on October 10, those travelling more than two kilometres will need to pay Rs 5-10 more.

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On October 2, Kejriwal had called for an independent audit of the DMRC when he also asked for the fare revision to be put on hold till the exercise is completed.

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