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Bombay High Court

Will hike auto, taxi fares as per Hakim panel report: Maha

The Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court that taxi and autorickshaw fares would be increased based on the recommendation of the now-scrapped Hakim Committee till the newly set up committee submits its report.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Road Transport Authority (MMRTA) had on May 11 proposed a hike in the basic fare for autorickshaws and taxis based on the recommendation of the erstwhile Hakim Committee. The minimum fare for autos is expected to go up from Rs 17 to Rs 18 while taxi fare is likely to go up from the minimum Rs 21 to Rs 22.

The state government had earlier approached the high court seeking approval for the proposed hike. The court’s approval is required as a PIL was earlier filed by consumer body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat challenging the recommendations of the Hakim committee.

Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani today told a division bench headed by Justice N H Patil that till the new committee headed by a retired high court judge does not submit its report, the government has decided to go ahead with the hike in fares based on the Hakim committee recommendation.

“From June 25 recalibration of the electronic meters of autos and taxis will start. Once the recalibration process is over the fare hike will be in place,” Vagyani said.

The court has posted the matter for further hearing tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the court today adjourned till June 29 a petition filed by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat seeking contempt action against the taxi and autorickshaw unions for resorting to strike on June 15 and 17 in the city.

Taxi and autoriskshaw drivers had gone on strike to seek implementation of the proposed hike in fares and against scrapping of a one-man committee which recommended the hike.

The contempt petition contended that the high court had passed an order in August 2013 observing that taxi and auto unions should not threaten to go on strike time and again.

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