One lakh Mumbaikars sign petition against Mumbai Metro's proposed fare hike

Opposition Congress on Tuesday claimed that over a lakh commuters have supported their protest against the proposed fare hike for the Mumbai Metro by signing petitions.

The Mumbai Congress had started the three-day-long protest on August 16 at all the 12 Metro stations on the Versova to Ghatkopar corridor, demanding immediate roll back of the proposed hike.

Congress MLA and former Maharashtra minister Naseem Khan, who led the protest, claimed, "By this evening over one lakh commuters including students, businessmen, women came forward and signed the petition seeking immediate roll back of any proposed hike."

The petitions would be submitted to the representatives of the Centre and State government and to the Maharashtra Governor, he said. 

Addressing a gathering outside Ghatkopar station, Khan said, "Metro had to fix the fares between Rs 9 and Rs 13 and as soon as we (Congress-NCP) were out of power, the fares went up to Rs 40. Now Metro has been allowed to hike its fare upto Rs 110, which is highest all over the world."

The fare slab of Rs 10 to 40 is already unaffordable (to commuters) and the way Metro's operator want the hike, it would amount to no less than a loot, he alleged. 

The Supreme Court had recently allowed the operator of Mumbai's Metro railway to implement the recommendation of the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) for a fare band of Rs 10-110. 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already announced a special audit of Reliance Infra-led Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) to examine the actual expenditure and operating cost, among others, as the government had reservations over the fare hike and escalated cost of the project. 

On the Mumbai Metro controversy, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure's (RInfra) Chief Executive Officer M S Mehta had recently said, "We have approached the Maharashtra government to consider our proposal for arriving at some solution to ensure that commuters are not affected by the tariff hike as proposed by the Fare Fixation Committee of Rs 10 to Rs 110 for the 11 km metro corridor."

"We have prepared a composite proposal and submitted to the government mentioning what steps can be taken to ensure our capital cost is recovered and how productive it becomes for the government and there is no burden on commuters," he said. 

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