On 1 October, Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal had demanded an independent audit of the Delhi Metro's accounts after state government wrote to Urban Affairs Ministry against the proposed fare hike. The fares were revised in May and therefore any increase now violates this decision.
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 formed in 1995 with equal equity participation of the Central government and the government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. DCW recommended that the fare hike be suspended immediately.
Set up by the Central government a year ago to see the case for and recommend a price hike, the three-member FFC, comprising a nominee each from the Central and the Delhi governments and a retired judge of Delhi High Court, had approved a two-phase hike in May.
According to sources, Kejriwal told Mangu that the Metro fare hike will decrease the ridership of the Metro and private operators such as Ola or Uber will be benefitted. "It is the view of the commission that before imposing a steep fare hike on the ordinary citizens of Delhi, all efforts and avenues of generating non-fare revenue as well as seeking revenue support from the Centre/state should have been exhausted".
Puri added that if the Delhi government agreed to pay Rs 3,000 crore annually to the DMRC, setting up a fresh Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) could be considered.
Last week, the urban development ministry had said it will "examine the issues" raised by Kejriwal over the proposed fare hike by the Delhi Metro. If the hike is effected, the fares will go up by a maximum of Rs 10 from 10 October.
Board has three Delhi government representatives: the chief secretary, principal secretary (finance) and the transport secretary. "However, till that happens, let the spirit of partnership prevail and I do hope that you will and a mutually acceptable solution to the present impasse relating to the second fare hike which we clearly regard as anti-people", the letter said.
"Neither the Central Government nor the State Government or even the Board of the Company has legal power to change the recommendations made by the FFC".
From October 10, for a distance of up to two kilometres, the fare will remain Rs 10, but for a distance between two and five kilometres, it will go up from Rs 15 to Rs 20.