“Set up under Sections 33 and 34 of the Metro Railway (Operations and Maintenance) Act 2002, the committee has been given three months from the date of assumption of charge by the chairperson of the committee Justice M L Mehta for submission of its report and recommendations to DMRC,” the ministry stated.
Apart from Mehta, a retired judge of the Delhi High Court, the fourth FFC includes the urban development ministry’s Additional Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra and Delhi Chief Secretary K K Sharma as members. The last FFC had submitted its recommendations in 2009 when the minimum fare was raised from Rs 6 to Rs 8, with the maximum fare raised from Rs 22 to Rs 30. DMRC had been facing financial hardship in the absence of a fare revision for the past six years. Facing stiff rise in input costs on the back of a mega expansion plan, the operator of Metro trains in the national capital had been pressing the government to set up the FFC but to no avail.
While the company desists from commenting on the issue officially, managing director Mangu Singh had told Business Standard in an earlier interview that DMRC’s input costs had gone up drastically, including electricity cost (accounting for 40 per cent of the total) and staff salaries.
DMRC had last year proposed replacing the existing 15 fare slabs ranging from Rs 8 to Rs 30 with a five-slab system with fares ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 50. The proposal, if implemented, would bring 38 per cent more revenue and resolve the issue of shortage of coins for change.
Delhi Metro is a 50:50 partnership between the Delhi government and the Union government. According to rules, DMRC has to request the urban development ministry to initiate the process of fare revision, which will, in turn, seek the law ministry’s clearance for the names of the prospective judges to head the FCC, before sending the proposal to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). The DoPT will, then, forward the names to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for approval.
DMRC had written at least thrice to the urban development ministry in the past few years requesting to set up the committee. The ACC had earlier rejected four consecutive proposals from the ministry for appointing the chairman of the committee and had rejected the name of retired judge A K Shrivastava for heading the fare panel last year.