An RTI activist has written to the Maharashtra Chief Minister, urging him to exercise his special powers to dissuade Reliance Infra's arm Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) from implementing an almost two-fold steep hike in fares of the soon to be launched suburban railway service.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister here today, Anil Galgali, an RTI activist and chairman of the Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Athak Seva Sangh said that when an agreement was signed between the Maharashtra state government and MMOPL in 2006, there was no such provision in the Metro Act.
The letter said that as per Maharashtra government's notification, the minimum fare ought to be Rs 9, while the maximum fare ought to be Rs 13, during the initial year of operations.
As per norms, fares could be increased by 11 per cent after every four years, but the MMOPL has sought a steep hike of minimum fare at Rs 22 and maximum fare at Rs 33, citing a near doubling of costs.
Galgali said that Mumbai's citizens are being made to suffer for no fault of theirs and that it is the Maharashtra state government's responsibility to act against MMOPL.
"The Maharashtra state government should use its special powers and stop the new fares from being implemented. The delay in project and increase in cost is not the fault of Mumbai's citizens. It is the responsibility of the Maharashtra state government to act against MMOPL's demands," Galgali's letter said.
"Under the initial agreement, between the state and MMOPL, the state had the power to fix the fares and it was one and a half times as compared to BEST bus fares. It is now high time for the government to act against MMOPL which is blackmailing the government and playing with citizens," his letter said.