Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure today justified in the Bombay High Court its decision to charge fares in the range of Rs 10-40 for various destinations for the Mumbai Metro route connecting Versova and Andheri in the west to Ghatkopar in the East.
In an affidavit, RInfra said the fares were fixed on the basis of the cost of the project and a flat rate of Rs 10 was currently being charged as a promotional fare for a month. However, the maximum fare would be increased to Rs 40 later.
Justice R D Dhanuka took the affidavit on record and deferred the hearing till June 19, while asking Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal infrastructure agency of Maharashtra Government, to file a rejoinder on that day.
MMRDA, which holds 26 per cent stake in Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) and challenged the operator’s fare structure, argued that it had suggested fares in the range of Rs nine to Rs 13 after consulting the ‘fare fixation committee’ and taking into consideration all the aspects.
RInfra has taken a stand that “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 MMOPL is the Metro Railway Administration (MRA) 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. MMRDA on Monday moved the High Court in an arbitration petition challenging the fares devised by its project partner RInfra.
MMRDA’s petition says the consortium had agreed on the structure under which fares were to be Rs Nine (up to 3 kms), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 kms) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 kms).
It has also sought a stay on the fares sought to be introduced by RInfra, but the court is yet to give a decision on this. The next hearing has been fixed on June 19.