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Delhi Metro fare hike a conspiracy to benefit private cab operators: Sisodia

Delhi Assembly passed a resolution to oppose Delhi Metro fare hike. Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel wrote to Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri urging him to stop the fare hike keeping larger public interest in mind

delhi Updated: Oct 10, 2017 12:53 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
Delhi Metro,Metro fare hike,Delhi government
Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia arrive at the Delhi Assembly. The House adopted a resolution on Monday, opposing the proposed Metro fare hike, which is scheduled come into effect from Tuesday. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday alleged that the move to increase fares of the Delhi Metro was a “conspiracy” to benefit private cab aggregators, as the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution to oppose the proposed hike.

Speaking at the Delhi Assembly in support of the resolution moved by transport minister Kailash Gahlot, Sisodia said that the fare hike was an attempt to turn Delhi Metro into a “premium public transport system.”

“Conspiracy is being hatched to make the Metro so expensive that people are forced give up using the Metro and start taking Ola and Uber. It is a conspiracy to benefit these taxi companies,” Sisodia told the House.

The resolution opposing the increase in Metro fares, which is likely to come into effect from Tuesday, was passed by a voice vote in the House.

Suggesting that the mass rapid transporter focus on more factors than just profitability, Sisodia asked if the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was a “soap-selling company”, since it appeared to be giving profit “such high priority.”

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been opposing the proposed Metro fare hike. Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel also wrote to Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri urging him to stop the fare hike keeping larger public interest in mind.

On Sunday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, while offering to take over the Metro, had agreed to grant a ₹1,500-crore subsidy to the DMRC if the Centre too matched the figure. In order to stop the hike, the Centre had earlier asked Delhi government to pay DMRC over ₹3,000 crore annually till 2022 take care of loan repayments, depreciation for replacements and operational expenses.

Sisodia also vowed to make the Metro “profitable and efficient” if the DMRC is taken over by Delhi government. “Rather than thinking of a solution to avoid the fare hike and still make Delhi Metro a profitable venture, they (the Centre) are blaming Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). Let me tell them that, even today, the DTC has more ridership than the Metro,” he said.

During the discussion, transport minister Gahlot said the DMRC has “failed” to earn revenues through property development despite the fact that it has properties in several prime locations in the National Capital. “From 2006 to 2017, the Metro has earned only ₹413 crore from property development. If they (Metro) would use their property efficiently, there would be no need for the hike,” Gahlot said.

Hitting back at the Kejriwal government, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said the AAP dispensation was not serious about concerns of the people. “There are five nominees of the Delhi government in the DMRC board. Why did they allow the board to increase fares of Metro? The government is not serious on this issue,” Gupta, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, alleged.

Gupta also raised the issue of delay in projects and said Phase-III of Delhi Metro was planned to be completed by December 16, 2016, but due to the AAP government’s “inaction”, the work has been delayed by over 15 months.

Gupta also demanded that Delhi government must provide an annual grant of ₹3000 crore if it wanted the fare hike the Delhi Metro to be put on hold. “Delhi Metro rules stipulate that the state government must bear 100% operational losses. Interference in the recommendations of fare fixation committee is against the rules,” Gupta said in the House.

BJP MLAs marshalled out of House

Meanwhile, BJP MLAs Manjinder Singh Sirsa and OP Sharma were marshalled out of the Delhi Assembly on Monday after they sought an apology from Kejriwal over his alleged use of “foul language” in the last session on October 4.

Speaker Ram Niwas Goel issued several warnings to Sirsa and Sharma having them marshalled out as they kept interrupting the discussion on a resolution moved by Gahlot against the proposed hike.

“The CM should apologise as in the last session during a discussion on guest teachers he used foul language for the Opposition. It is a serious matter,” Sirsa said before he was marshalled out.

The Delhi Metro’s minimum fare was hiked from ₹8 to ₹10, and the maximum from ₹30 to ₹50, in May this year. If the fares are increased on October 10, the maximum figure will go up from ₹50 to ₹60.

First Published: Oct 09, 2017 23:56 IST