No fare hike at present for Mumbai Metro Phase-I Project

Mumbai: Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has yet again clarified that the escalation in capital cost in the 12 km Versova and Ghatkopar metro phase I and the three fold fare hike sought by the Reliance Infrastructure arm Mumbai Metro One (MMOPL) are separate issues.

Therefore, there was no question of revision in fare at this point in time when the metro phase I is yet to be operational. MMRDA’s stand is crucial when the project has missed the December deadline pending safety approvals from railways. MMRDA and MMOPL have yet to given new deadline for the commencement of operations.

Incidentally, MMOPL is a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure & MMRDA. The project cost has increased to Rs 4,291 crore from Rs 2,356 crore largely due to economic factors and also delays in obtaining right of way (RoW) and various approvals from the Indian Railways. MMOPL has pressed for Rs 28-30 fare for travelling eight km and beyond against Rs 6 for less than 3 km, Rs 8 for three to eight km and Rs 10 for travelling beyond eight km.

MMRDA official told, ”MMOPL’s proposal has been forwarded to the Maharashtra government. There is no question of any fare hike right now as the issue will be considered after the service is started by MMOPL. The hike in capital cost will not immediately impact fares.” The official said that fare hike proposal will be considered within the parameters of joint agreement only after the services are launched.

On the other hand, MMOPL said its request for fare revision submitted to the state government and MMRDA in March last year is pending for decision.

”The principal reason for increase is due to inability of MMRDA in providing 100% unencumbered RoW which was contractually committed by MMRDA to be handed over to MMOPL on or before September 2007. As of date also 100% unencumbered RoW is yet to be handed over by MMRDA to MMOPL. The increase in the fare is necessitated due to increase in operating cost arising out of steep increase in all economic indices; inflation, interest rate foreign exchange etc. These factors have also increased the estimated project cost,” MMOPL spokesman said.

As per the provisions of the Central Metro Act, MMOPL is a Metro Rail Administrator. Accordingly, the statutory provisions of Central Metro Rail Acts will be applicable for operations of metro rail including fixation and revision of fare. It is the joint responsibility of MMRDA and MMOPL to ensure sustainable operations of the project.

This matter has been discussed between the Partners and appropriate forward path would be agreed upon. The fare fixation will be governed by the applicable provisions under the Central Metro Rail Act.

Further, MMOPL spokesman said the project is now governed by provisions of the Central Metro Rail Act. All project partners are committed for the sustainable operation of the metro which includes Government and MMRDA.