Aggrieved commuters may expect relief as the state government, after receiving severe public criticism, has finally convinced the Centre to form a fare fixation committee (FFC) for the metro. This move will help the state to seek a stay from the Bombay High Court, which approved the new fare structure on Thursday. It is believed that the delay in forming the panel by the Centre marred the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority's (MMRDA) chances of getting a relief from the HC.
Commuters can look forward to reduced metro fare. File pic
On Thursday, the HC had dismissed the planning authority’s appeal against revised fares proposed by Reliance Infra for the Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL). It also asked the union government to form the fare fixation committee (FFC) within three months. The state had suggested the Centre should set up a panel in October 2014 but the Urban Development ministry didn't act on it. After Thursday's verdict, MMOPL started charging fares between Rs 10 and Rs 40, up from promotional fares of Rs 10-R20, for the 11.04-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro line 1.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took the matter to Union Urban Development and Housing minister Venkaiah Naidu, who appointed a panel under retired Justice E Padmanabhan on Saturday in Delhi. Padmanabhan has earlier fixed fares for the Delhi Metro as well. Fadnavis expected the HC to grant stay because of FFC's formation.
"We will request the court to stay its order and let the committee fix fares," he told sunday mid-day. Officials said commuters would benefit if FFC's recommendations on fares are lower than that what MMOPL had proposed. After launching the line in June 2014, Reliance Infra sought a hike and argued that it incurred losses of R85 lakh per day because daily ridership (2,65,000 commuters) was much lesser than the estimated 4,10,000.