Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri to direct Delhi Metro to withhold the "unjustified" fare hike till its decision is jointly reviewed by the Central and Delhi governments.
In his letter to Puri, Kejriwal demanded that a board meeting of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) should be convened to stay the proposed fare hike as the corporation is jointly owned by the central and the Delhi government.
He pointed out that Delhi residents were still reeling under the impact of the previous "steep fare hike" which came into effect in May and said the proposed second fare hike from October 10 "will be simply unacceptable in this time of economic distress", a government statement said.
Kejriwal said while the Fare Fixation Committee had recommended a gap of one year between two fare hikes, DMRC was going ahead with the second hike "even before six months after implementation of the previous fare hike".
"The Fare Fixation Committee recommended that from 2019 onwards, the annual fare hike should take care of inflation but should not exceed seven per cent per annum. This principle is being completely overlooked in the fare hikes being planned for 2017 which, put together, will exceed 80 per cent in one year alone," he wrote.
"In several slabs, the increase will be 100 per cent, which is quite appalling. There is no reason why the principles to be followed from 2019 onwards should be completely violated in 2017," Kejriwal wrote in his letter.
He pointed out that the committee also advised DMRC to raise funds through real estate development on the lines of the Hong Kong Metro and to improve productivity to cut down costs which would lead to a "much lower increase" in fares.
The AAP leader said no initiatives by the DMRC were visible to improve efficiency so it could reduce costs.
"Their effort is to pass on all costs and inefficiencies in the form of a higher fare to be imposed on the ordinary commuters," he wrote.