Arvind Kejriwal slams fare hike proposal, demands audit of DMRC

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Arvind Kejriwal slams fare hike proposal, demands audit of DMRC
Arvind Kejriwal slams fare hike proposal, demands audit of DMRC

New Delhi : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday demanded an independent audit of the Delhi Metro's accounts and a stay on the proposed fare hike till this report is received.

"... there is an immediate need for an independent audit of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) accounts, since residents of Delhi have already experienced how the private power distribution companies (discoms) used to hike power tariffs by showing fake losses," he said, according to a Delhi government statement. 

"If the commuters would not be able to use the Metro because of high fares, what would be the utility of running the Metro," he asked. 

The Delhi government had opposed the hike proposed in September last year, said Kejriwal, and decried the "manner in which the views of the elected government could be ignored" by Fare Fixation Committee (FFC), which decided the hike. 

Set up by the Central Government last year to see the case for and recommend a price hike, the three member FFC, comprising a nominee each from the Central and the Delhi governments and a retired judge of Delhi High Court, had approved a two-phase hike in May. While one hike has already been done, the other was to be implemented from Oc1tober 10. 

According to the statement, Kejriwal said that the DMRC's rationale for the hike - to cover operational costs and repay loans - was "highly flawed" and advised it to be efficient instead. 

He also urged the DMRC to follow the Hong Kong model and not burden the common man with repeated hikes. 

Decried by both the Aam Aadmi Party and Bhartiya Janata Party for the hike, the DMRC has since cited its mounting losses and unpaid debt as the reasons.

It noted that there has been no fare increase since 2009 though its input costs had dramatically zoomed in energy, staffing and repair and maintenance. It also noted that Rs 26,760 crore of the loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency was still outstanding.