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Kejriwal Writes to Centre, Says 'Claw Back' Metro Fares Hike

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, seeking a review of the hike in metro fares and reiterated his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed "claw back".

PTI

Updated:December 13, 2017, 9:30 PM IST
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Kejriwal Writes to Centre, Says 'Claw Back' Metro Fares Hike
File photo of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
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New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, seeking a review of the hike in metro fares and reiterated his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed "claw back".

Puri, however, said that neither the Centre nor the Delhi government has powers to roll back the fares fixed by the fixation committee headed by a retired judge and claimed that the ridership on three different days in October this year were higher than the last year.

Hitting back, the Union minister said that the 35 per cent fall in the DTC riders and shortfall of buses called for an urgent attention.

Kejriwal said besides causing an increase in the pollution levels in Delhi, "high metro tariffs" also directly affect the travel pattern of the economically weaker sections of the society.

In the letter to the minister of state for housing and urban affairs, the chief minister said there has been a decline of about 10.5 per cent in the number of passenger trips undertaken during November, 2017, compared to November last year.

"Past data as well as the claims made by the DMRC indicate that passenger trips grow by about 8.5-9 per cent every year," Kejriwal said.

"Even if we assume a conservative growth rate of 8 per cent per annum, it would be evident that not only was this growth of 8 per cent missed, but also a decline of 10.5 per cent as mentioned above, implying a total loss of 18.5 per cent in passenger trips," he said.

It implies that there was a shift of 15.3 lakh passenger trip from the Delhi Metro in November 2017 alone, which suggests these trips were undertaken by other modes that are less friendly to the environment, he said in the letter.

He said for a full year, these trips would be nearly two crore, and evidently, this would add significantly to air pollution at a time when the air quality is severely stressed.

"In view of the sharp decline in ridership after the recent tariff hike, it seems necessary in public interest to review this hike and claw back the fares to their September level," Kejriwal said.

Even then, the commuters would pay 50 per cent more than the tariffs payable in May 2017, but anything above that would be "injurious" to the commuters and to the public interest, he also said.

"I reiterate our earlier offer to bear half the losses arising out of the proposed rollback," Kejriwal added.

In response to the letter, Puri said in series of tweet, "CM @ArvindKejriwal has again written to me. As repeatedly clarified neither of us have powers to rollback fares fixed by FFC headed by a retd judge. But facts remain, ridership of 28.38L on 10/10, 28.58L on 16/10 &27.51L on 17/10 in 17 are higher than on these dates in 16 (sic)".

"Metro ridership figures in any city are never a constant & depend on several seasonal & other factors. The DMRC revenues have gone up which will help repay the JICA loan. However, 35% fall in DTC riders & shortfall of buses would appear to call for urgent attention," Puri said.

The Delhi Metro lost over three lakh commuters a day after a steep fare hike came into effect on October 10, an RTI query revealed last month.

Puri had said that claimed the dip in the ridership cannot be linked to the fare hike effected in October, which, it said, was necessary for maintaining "efficiency".

The fare hike led to a rise of around Rs 10 for nearly every distance slab. This came barely five months after the previous hike of up to 100 per cent.

The revised fare structure was: up to 2 km - Rs 10, 2 to 5 km - Rs 20, 5 to 12 km - Rs 30, 12 to 21 km - Rs 40, 21 to 32 km - Rs 50, and for journeys beyond 32 km - Rs 60.
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