New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) Existing rules do not allow the central government to interfere with the Metro train fares, neither do they allow metro operations either by the state or central governments, Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.
He also said that as per existing guidelines, the operational losses are the sole responsibility of state governments and hence there is no question of Centre sharing the grants-in-aid to DMRC required to stop the fare hike.
“Besides violation of this policy, your suggestion has wider financial implications for such projects which are already operational in good number with more in the offing. Central Government again can not be seen violating its own policies unmindful of the consequences,” Puri said in a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had on Sunday offered to give half of the grant of around Rs 3,000 crore to defer the hike, and also offered to take over Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) “if the central government agrees”.
Puri also said that the new Metro Rail Policy “in respect of 50:50 joint venture metro projects as is the case of DMRC, does not envisage metro operations either by the state or central governments”.
He said that as per Section 37 of the Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002, recommendations of the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) are “binding and sacrosanct and the central government can not interfere in the matter of metro fares”.
The Minister said that advising the nominees of the central and state governments on the Board of DMRC to postpone the hike for a few months — which Kejriwal called a “simpler course” — was “not in conformity” with the Act.
Puri also warned Kejriwal to be “guided by the experience of DTC” before thinking of taking over the DMRC as he suggested the Chief Minister that Delhi government may take up for autonomous execution and operation the Delhi Metro Phase-IV, which has already been delayed by about two and a half years.
He pointed out that the hike in Metro fares comes to “less than 7 per cent per year, considering the gap of about eight years”.
“The harassed people of the national capital are in dire need of effective mobility solutions. DMRC has offered one such solution and people are asking for more of it. Politicisation of issues of basic concern to them does not help anyone,” Puri wrote in his letter.
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