MMRDA to appeal Mumbai Metro fare order

मुंबई Mumbai: The state-run Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority will soon file a petition before the division bench of the Bombay High Court challenging the order upholding initial fares fixed by the Reliance Infrastructure arm Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) for the recently opened Metro. This apart, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mumbai unit will also appeal against the fares fixed by MMOPL.

The High Court on its order on on Tuesday on an arbitration petition filed by MMRDA had ruled that MMOPL was right in deciding the fares of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40, depending on distances, under Section 33 of the Central Metro Act. The high court also upheld the decision taken at the MMOPL’s recent board meeting in this regard till the fares were fixed by the fare fixation committee. The rates will apply on the recently-inaugurated 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Gahtkopar corridor from July 8.

MMOPL, which commissioned the Metro services from June 8, has introduced the promotion fare of Rs 10 until July 7 and free travel to children for few days or fare at Rs 5 during non peak hours.

Mumbai Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan told ”MMRDA will challenge the high court order and file its petition with the division bench of the high court.”

MMRDA, which holds 26% equity in the Metro One project, has been of the view that the fares were earlier fixed at Rs 9 (up to three km), Rs 11 (from three to eight km) and Rs 13 (more than eight km) and were accepted by the Reliance Infrastructure led consortium— as mentioned in the concession agreement. Further, MMRDA argued that the fare revision will be indexed at 11% every fourth year. The fare notification for entire concession period was under issue by the Government of Maharashtra and that will form part of the Concession Agreement.

BJP’s Mumbai unit president Ashish Shelar, who led an agitation against the Mumbai metro fares on Wednesday, confirmed that his party will soon approach the high court against the fares fixed by MMOPL. Shelar warned that the protests would continue and the BJP will hold demonstrations at all Metro sessions if the fares were not rolled back.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) chairman Shirish Deshpande said it was currently examining all issues pertaining to the Mumbai metro operations and its fares. MGP has also voiced against the rail fare hike by the Centre.