Mumbai: Activist demands shifting of Metro rail fare panel office

Raising questions over the location of Mumbai Metro rail's fare fixation committee (FFC), operating from the premises of Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL), a joint venture company owned by Reliance Infra, a city-based activist has demanded its relocation.

RTI activist Anil Galgali, in a letter written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has alleged conflict of interests and asked how the panel, which fixes metro rail fares, could function from MMOPL, a joint venture company of Reliance Infrastructure that built the metro rail line connecting Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar.

"I have apprised the CM that the FFC has been given the office at Metro Depot in D N Nagar located within the premises of MMOPL. This is a clear case of conflict of interests," Galgali told PTI.

"Secondly, the nodal officer appointed to handle the activities of the panel is provided by MMOPL, which is a serious lapse and creates doubt over the functioning of the committee," he added.

Galgali has demanded shifting of the office to some other location. "I have requested the CM and MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan to shift the FFC office out of the MMOPL premises where there would be no conflict of interest." The FFC, with retired justice E Padmanabhan as its chairman, had been constituted to fix the Metro rail tariff.

When contacted, a MMOPL spokesperson said, "The committee was formed by Union Ministry of Urban Development. FFC is being guided by the government rules and regulations, which clearly state that the Metro administration (MMOPL) shall provide office, staff, accommodation, conveyance and other facilities and assistance to the Chairperson and members of the FFC for the discharge of their duties under the Metro Act."

In his letter, Galgali also stated that the government has been a 'mute spectator' on the issue. "The inaction of the government in constitution of the committee in time gave MMOPL requisite leverage to increase its fares," he alleged.

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