New Delhi : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said his government is ready to pay half the grants-in-aid for the next five years to DMRC to avoid a Metro fare hike if the central government is ready to pay the other half.
“As for as your suggestion regarding a grant to DMRC for meeting the gap in their operating finances, my government is willing to bear half the grant if only a matching grant is provided by the Central Government,” Kejriwal said in his letter to Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
Kejriwal’s letter, dated October 8, further said: “As you know, the central government and Delhi Government are 50-50 owners of DMRC and its equity etc. have been shared in this proportion all along. Let an assessment be made of the financial gap likely to be created on account of the postponement of the second fare hike and we will be able to bear half of it.
“Since the central government bears 100 per cent of loss for Kolkata Metro, I see no difficulty if it bears 50 per cent in case of Delhi. Thereafter, an FFC (Fare Fixation Committee) can be constituted, as suggested by you.”
Kejriwal, through his letter, also informed the central government to his government’s readiness to take over DMRC if it wants.
“If the central government agrees, Delhi government would be willing to take over DMRC. We are confident that we will be able to fund DMRC by improving the efficiency rather than effecting steep fare hikes and provide an affordable means of transport to the people of Delhi.
“However, till that happens, let the spirit of partnership prevail and I do hope that you will find a mutually acceptable solution to the present impasse relating to the second fare hike which we clearly regard as anti-people,” he wrote.
Kejriwal’s reaction came in response to Puri’s suggestion to him to give over Rs 3,000 crore annually to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) if he wants to hold the proposed Metro fare hike.
Puri had said to Kejriwal through his letter dated October 6 that the Metro Act did not allow the central government to put on hold the fare hike. He also noted that the alternative to fare hike was to provide DMRC yearly grants-in-aid for the next five years: Rs 3,040 crore, Rs 3,616 crore, Rs 3,318 crore, Rs 3,150 crore and Rs 2,980 crore respectively.
Puri was responding to a letter from Kejriwal on September 29 asking the central government to put the hike on hold.
The AAP government has opposed the fare hike proposed from October 10. It has locked horns with the Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) over the impending second hike this year, following the recommendation of the fourth FFC.
The DMRC defended its decision by saying its input costs had gone up over the years and the increase was at par with Metro rails in other cities.
The Delhi assembly will meet on Monday to discuss the proposed hike.