Commuters across Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) area will have to pay more for their auto-rickshaw and taxi rides from June 25.
The Bombay high court on Wednesday gave its nod to implement the decision of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) to hike fares of auto rickshaws and taxis.
A division bench of justice Naresh Patil and justice SB Shukre rejected the plea of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat to stay the proposed fare hike by Maharashtra government. In its PIL challenging the validity of the formula derived by Hakim Committee to calculate auto and taxi fares, the consumer body had moved an application seeking stay on implementation of the fare revision made on May 11.
Its counsel, advocate Uday Warunjikar, opposed the fare hike contending that the auto and taxi fares could not have been revised by MMRTA when the state government had discarded the Hakim Committee report itself.
Warunjikar termed the fare hike as 'arbitrary exercise of powers' claiming that a fare hike of autos and taxis is implemented at a time when fuel prices and consumer price index has gone down. Besides, he said, the state government itself has cut down the annual maintenance cost of these vehicles from Rs 99,000 to Rs 77,000, and therefore enhancement in fares was unjustified.
The contentions, however, failed to impress the court which rejected the plea for stay.
As informed to the court on Tuesday, the weights and measures department has decided to start re-calibration of electronic meters (for setting the meters at enhanced fare) of autos and taxies from June 25 and to implement the fare hike as soon as recalibration is done.
The process of recalibration of meters of all autos and taxis plying in MMR is scheduled to be completed within a month, and auto and taxi drivers can charge enhanced fares as soon as the meters fitted on their vehicles are recalibrated.