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Beware! Delhi’s ‘Political Metro’ Is Speeding 

The Kejriwal government has continuously been challenging the Centre on the issue of a hike in Metro fares.

Published
India
5 min read
The fares of the Delhi Metro will most likely be increased.
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The politics over the Delhi Metro fare hike is all set to make its way through the Assembly doors very soon, giving a whole new meaning to the ongoing controversy. On October 4, a special session of the Assembly has been called for the purpose of introducing a bill to regularise 15,000 guest teachers, but there are chances that the Aam Aadmi Party will raise the issue of the Metro fare hike in the House.

'Political' Metro Running in Delhi

The Kejriwal government has continuously been challenging the Centre on the issue of Metro fares. At first, Kejriwal termed the fare hike ‘anti-people’, then the Minister of Transport, Kailash Gehlot, wrote a letter to the DMRC, requesting the authorities to not increase the fare. But when DMRC Chief Mangu Singh continued to remain adamant on his stance despite the meeting and the letter from the Transport minister, the Kejriwal government chose to lead the front themselves, headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia.

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The Delhi government strongly condemned the statement of Minister of State for Urban Development Hardeep Puri in which he had said that if the fare was not increased then the metro could become like DTC.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in a press conference, said that if people do not travel in the metro after the fares are increased, the condition of the metro will be worse than the DTC. The metro was established not for the convenience of some people but for the convenience of all.

Now, Kejriwal has said in a letter to Minister of State for Urban Development, Hardeep Puri, that increasing the fare is 'unjust'. He said that the Metro fare should not be extended until the Centre and the Delhi government jointly review the DMRC's decision.

“Let me tell you that the Central government and the Delhi government are equal partners in the Delhi Metro”, he said.

The example of the Kolkata Metro has also been cited to stop the hike in fares. For a journey of 25 kilometers or more in the Kolkata Metro, a maximum of Rs 25 is payable. On the other hand, for a 21 to 32 km journey, the Delhi Metro charges Rs 50 per head.



For a journey of 25 kilometers or more in the Kolkata Metro, a maximum of Rs 25 is payable.
For a journey of 25 kilometers or more in the Kolkata Metro, a maximum of Rs 25 is payable.
(Photo: Metro Railway, Kolkata)

Did the Government Oppose the Fare Hikes Earlier?

Meanwhile, it is also alleged that the Delhi government wants to take political mileage by pretending to stand with people, whereas it has never opposed the hike of fares before.

There are two things to be noted here. First of all, the hike in fares was fixed in September 2016, when the Fourth Fare Rating Committee submitted its report on raising the fares after 7 years. Later, it was decided that the fare would be extended in two phases. The first hike came into effect on 10 May 2017 and the second was to come into effect from 1 October 2017.

Now, the Delhi government and the Center have come face-to-face over the hike in fares, but nothing has happened suddenly. Everything was already fixed. Even in the committee meetings, Delhi's then Chief Secretary KK Sharma was also present. After the continuous allegations, the Kejriwal government has clarified that they have always been against the increase in metro fares.

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In its defence, the government has issued a letter dated 30 June 2017 in which the DMRC was asked not to raise the fare. The letter argued that if fares are increased, the public will turn to private vehicles instead of the metro. This will also increase pollution in Delhi. Apart from this, it said that the metro is the second name for women and students. Hence, the hike would not be the right move.
The government had opposed the hike of fares earlier as well.
The government had opposed the hike of fares earlier as well.
(Photo: Twitter)

Through this letter, the government wants to respond to those critics who are blaming it for not having denounced the hike earlier. But one question still remains. When a large portion of the fare which was increased in two phases was extended in May this year, why did the Delhi government not register such a protest?

How and Why Was the Fare Increased?

A committee is formed to increase the fare of the metro. Recommendations of the Third Committee came into force in November 2009. The lowest fare was Rs 8, the highest was Rs 30. This fare was in effect for 7 years. In September 2016, the Fourth Fare Rating Committee submitted its recommendations. The DMRC decided to increase the fare in two parts.

First on 10 May 2017 and the second time on 1 October 2017. According to the DMRC, this was done so that the burden of increased fare on the people was not sudden. This increase in fares was up by 100 percent. That is, the maximum of Rs 30 in 2009 was increased to Rs 50 in May and now will be increased further to Rs 60. The reasons given were that in the last 7 years the industrial DA had increased by 95 percent and the Centre’s DA had increased by 103 percent. The cost of metro, staff and other things had also increased.
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But the question is, what was the need to wait for 7 years for this price hike? Why did the Delhi Metro not increase its fare in small installments? Besides, why wasn’t the youth of Delhi taken into account while proposing the fare hike?

The maximum fare will now reach Rs 60.
The maximum fare will now reach Rs 60.
(Photo: DMRC)

The Quint also spoke to some students, for whom the metro is an important mode of transport.

Beware! Delhi’s ‘Political Metro’ Is Speeding 
(Photo: The Quint)
Beware! Delhi’s ‘Political Metro’ Is Speeding 
(Photo: The Quint)

The Delhi government and the Centre are asserting different claims on the fare hike issue. Everyday, a new fact is being presented. But the trend that the Centre has shown so far indicates that from 10 October, the increase in the fares of the metro is more or less certain.

However, Kejriwal’s government has already resisted the move enough, to the extent of Kejriwal indicating that he’d suffer if the fare hike materialises, and assert himself as a leader working in the best interests of the people, in case there is no hike.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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