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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Mumbai Metro yet to move, fares move northwards

Saurabh Katkurwar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 05, 2013
First Published: 02:58 IST(5/9/2013) | Last Updated: 03:00 IST(5/9/2013)

Even before the much-awaited and much-delayed Mumbai metro starts running, its fares are shooting up. If the state government accepts the demand of the developer (concessionaire) Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), you will end up paying a fare between Rs. 22 (minimum) and Rs. 33 (maximum) for a ride on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar stretch.

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When work on the Metro line started in 2007, the initial fares proposed were between Rs. 7 and Rs. 11. Now, six years later, under the fare structure decided by the state government, the revised fare would be Rs9 to Rs13 based on the agreement between the concessionaire and the state.

However, MMOPL has demanded that fares be increased to Rs. 22-Rs 33 citing the project cost, which has increased from Rs2,356 crore in 2007 to Rs4,321 crore. The agreement states that majority of MMOPL’s revenue is expected from ticket sales.

However, the state is yet to accept the demand. Urban development secretary Manukumar Srivastava told Hindustan Times that the metro fare would be Rs9 to Rs13 based on the agreement and a notification would be issued.

Though MMOPL has refused to comment on the issue, sources indicate that a bitter tussle may ensue over the fares. “MMOPL will have to operate the service with the revised fare structure as per the concession agreement. If the state accepts MMOPL’s demand, it will supersede the revised fare structure,” said an official.   

Speaking informally to a group of journalists, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the government had an option of taking over the Metro project. Officials from Mantralaya, however, have expressed doubts over the same pointing out that the government does not have enough funds even for its developmental work. Also, such a move could send a wrong signal to investors at a time when the global slowdown has hit investements. The project could also be affected if MMOPL chooses to go into arbitration to challenge the government decision.

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