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Mumbai metro fare dispute goes to court; MMRDA seeks stay on fares

The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal infrastructure agency of Maharashtra government, on Monday filed an arbitration petition as well as a petition seeking a stay to the fares of Mumbai Metro before the Bombay High Court.

The current fares, determined by Metro consortium partner Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, are higher than the ones proposed by the state government.

Justice R.D. Dhanuka on Monday scheduled the hearing of the petitions for June 13, since the Anil Ambani-led R-Infra sought time to file a reply.

Mumbaikars wait in line to ride the Metro
Mumbaikars do not seem to mind the long queues to get to their Metro ride, at Ghatkopar station

The first phase of Metro, Reliance Infra-led Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL), in the city on the 11.4km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar stretch was inaugurated on Sunday.

MMRDA's lawyer A.P. Bharucha told the court on Monday that the Metro operations had already started, therefore the issue must be decided urgently.

MMRDA's petition says the consortium had agreed on the structure under which fares were to be Rs.9(upto 3km), Rs.11 (from 3 to 8km) and Rs.13 (for more than 8km).

But R-Infra, in a statement, said, “The initial fare has been fixed and notified as Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.30 and Rs.40 under section 33 of the Central Metro Act 2002. As per the Central government’s directive, the Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd (MMOPL) is the Metro railway administration and the fare for the Mumbai Metro is to be fixed afresh by MMOPL...”

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had said on Saturday said that these fares were not acceptable to the government.

In the first month, MMOPL has offered a promotional fare of Rs.10 for a one-way trip irrespective of the distance.

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