Adhir hints at fare hike yet again for Kolkata Metro

HOWRAH: A hike in Metro fares is under active consideration, Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said at the Howrah station on Monday. He added that the railways has taken up the issue of land for the Joka-BBD Bag Metro project with the ministries of finance and defence.

“We require some land at the Mint that belongs to the Ministry of Finance to sink a pillar. We require some land in the Kolkata Maidan for three stations. For this, we will not damage the greens,” a Metro official said.

The Metro, which is now suffering a huge revenue deficit, had expected a fare revision in the last budget as ticket prices have remained the same for nearly 12 years now. The minimum fare of Rs 4 is even lower than what a commuter has to pay on a ramshackle bus. Even commuters are ready to pay more, if it helps in improved services. With few revenue prospects available, the Metro has to spend over Rs 300 to earn Rs 100.

“We are trying to improve the facilities. To improve the quality of food on board trains, base kitchens will come up at more stations and there will be better monitoring. I have also asked officials to redress the complaints of passengers,” he said.

While speaking to journalists, he demanded an independent inquiry into the Presidency College vandalism and took on the state government for delaying the Panchayat polls. “All parties want central forces for the Panchayat polls. Elections under central forces are free and fair. Maybe, the state doesn’t want this and is trying to delay the process,” Chowdhury said.