File photo of Delhi metro
With significant rise in its operational costs, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) MD Mangu Singh on Thursday said that a fare hike is "long overdue" while expressing hope that a fare fixation committee will be "formed soon".
Fares were last revised in 2009 when the minimum fare was raised from Rs 6 to Rs 8 with the maximum fare being raised to Rs 30 from Rs 22.
"Fare hike is due for a long time now. It's long overdue actually. Now when the committee will be formed and when it will give its recommendations is not in my hand," Mr Singh said on the sidelines of an event to unveil art display panels at Jorbagh Metro station.
On being asked whether the Urban Development Ministry had
replied to DMRC's letter asking to appoint a fare-fixation committee, Mr Singh said, "Letters are a way to remind them on our part. Let us hope that the committee is formed as soon as possible."
Delhi Metro can revise its fares only on recommendation of the three-member committee constituted by the Union government from time to time.
The committee comprises of the Urban Development Secretary, Delhi's Finance Secretary and a person who is or has been a High Court judge who also chairs the committee.
During DMRC's 12th anniversary celebrations, its Operations Director Sharat Sharma had stated that almost 40 per cent of metro's overall expenses go towards paying electricity bills with the power consumption rising to around 63 crore units amounting to almost Rs 450 crore in 2014-15.
Mr Singh also said that trial runs in the Jahangirpuri-Faridabad section will be launched in March as the initial hiccups regarding land has been sorted out.
"Faridabad Metro construction is not getting delayed at all. The initial delay was due to issues regarding land availability which is nothing unusual in projects like this. The trial runs will start in March," he said.
On the delay in Phase-III construction with the possibility of missing the 2016 deadline as stated by Mr Singh in a letter to the Delhi Chief Secretary last year, he said that there are issues only in not more than 2-3 spots.
"There is no deadlock as such. In the 140-km long under construction line there are issues regarding land acquisition in not more than 2-3 spots covering not more than 400- 500 metres. Work is going smoothly in the rest 139-km," the DMRC MD said.