CAG to probe Mumbai Metro, Mono project costs to establish Fares

Mumbai: While the state is locked in a tussle with Reliance Infrastructure-led MMOPL over Metro fares, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a special audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) into the Metro and Mono railways.

How will the auditor help?

The CAG will investigate whether claims by the consortium over the project cost are valid, thus establishing whether the hike they are demanding is justified. The probe will go into the costs of the 11.40-km-long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro.

Speaking in the state legislative assembly on Monday, Fadnavis pointed to how the state government and the Metro railway developers were in a dispute over increasing ticket fares. “The developer is making one claim, and the state government is making another,” noted Fadnavis, adding that though a committee had been set up to examine the matter, it would fix the fares based on the accounts placed before it.

“So, we have decided to undertake a special audit of the Metro and Mono railway projects by the CAG,” said Fadnavis, adding that this probe would go into the developers claims about the costs of the project and the resultant fare hike. “After the special audit, the CAG will decide if these claims are correct or not,” said Fadnavis.

He added, “There were problems in the construction of the first and second (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd) Metro. So all the proposed Metro lines in Mumbai will be underground. The MMRDA has approved this, and we will also give our nod.”

Why did RInfra hike the fares?

Reliance Infra-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) has claimed that project costs for Maharashtra’s first operational Metro railway line have increased from the original Rs 2,356 crore to a higher Rs 4,350 crore and are using this rise as a justification for hiking fares.

What is the jump in fares?

The consortium hiked the fares from the initial range of Rs9-13 to the Rs10-40 range for the 11.04 km route after the Bombay high court allowed the enhancement. The Supreme Court also did not stay the hike, and asked the Centre-appointed fare fixation committee to decide on the slab by April-end.