'Chief Secy stalling Metro fare hike probe on Centre's order'
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Saturday said that the Centre has instructed the Delhi Chief Secretary to turn down Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's direction to order a probe into the issue of Delhi Metro's fare hike and other related issues.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia shared a communication from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to Chief Secretary M M Kutty with reporters suggesting the same, which, he said, vindicates the government's position that Kutty was "stalling the process at the BJP's behest".
"DMRC is not a state PSU. It has been organised as a 50:50 equity partnership of the Central government and the state government. Therefore, it is neither Central nor state PSU. It is a Board-run government company. Therefore, state government has no authority to make an enquiry into DMRC affairs," the letter to Kutty states.
Sisodia also said that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was refusing to share details of Metro ridership following its fare hike on October 10.
"If metro is only for a premium class of Delhi, then what is the point of using thousands of crores of tax money of Delhi's citizens for it?" he asked.
Sisodia said the Delhi government was not buying Metro's contention that it had to resort to a fare hike since it was running on losses. "We will ensure that a probe is done. The Delhi Assembly has every right to get a probe done. The House Committee is already conducting one," he said.
The communication from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, however, clearly states that neither the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi nor the Delhi government has "competence to inquire into Metro's affairs."
"Why are we even running the Metro? To benefit whom? Congress used to deploy the same logic of discoms running on losses to increase power tariff in Delhi. We have never interfered in Metro operations. We believe Metro isn't some profit making company," Sisodia said.
The Deputy CM said that as per reports, since the Metro fare hike, the ridership of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses increased by 65,000.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday held a march to protest against the fare hike, which culminated at Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan's residence here.
"AAP workers carried out the protest march from Chandni Chowk to Vardhan's residence where police had put barricades to stop them," the party said in a statement.