Bombay HC upholds Mumbai Metro fares fixed by R-Infra arm

मुम्बई Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Tuesday rejected the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority’s (MMRDA) petition challenging Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. (R-Infra)-led Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd’s (MMOPL) decision to increase fares for the Mumbai metro.

The court’s decision comes at a time when Mumbikars are already reeling under a 100% hike in season tickets for the suburban railway network, as announced by the railway ministry. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had inaugurated the first phase of the Mumbai metro on 8 June, amidst a controversy over increase in fares.

The metro project is a joint venture between Anil Ambani-controlled R-Infra and MMRDA, in which R-Infra owns 74%. MMOPL announced a fare increase between Rs.10 and Rs.40, from the earlier planned range of Rs.9 to Rs.13, saying that an increase in the project cost had forced a revision in fares.

The cost of the project has gone up from Rs.2,356 crore to Rs.4,321 crore because of a series of delays. However, MMOPL said that it will charge a promotional fare of Rs10 for the initial 30 days.

MMRDA had challenged the fare hike decision, terming it “unilateral”. It argued that only the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) has a right to fix the fare. MMOPL, however, stuck to its stand saying that as per the Metro Railways Act, 2009, the developer has a right to decide initial fare. The developer is required to approach FFC only for subsequent fare hikes.