Ready to fully take over DMRC if Centre agrees: Kejriwal
The Chief Minister also wrote to Hardeep Puri that his government is willing to bear half of the operating cost of Delhi Metro, if the Centre pays the other half.
NEW DELHI: Putting the ball in the court of the Union government, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri that the Delhi government is ready to completely take over the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC), if the Centre agrees.
In his letter to Puri, Kejriwal also wrote that the Delhi government is willing to bear half of the operating cost of Delhi Metro, if the Centre pays the other half.
"If the Central government agrees, the Delhi government would be willing to take over DMRC. We are confident that we will be able to fund DMRC by improving its efficiency, rather than effecting steep fare hikes and provide an affordable means of transport to the people of Delhi," the CM wrote.
Earlier, Puri had said, "In case the state government agrees to provide grants-in-aid of nearly Rs 3,000 crore per annum to DMRC, then another fare fixation committee (FFC) may be constituted which may examine the financial viability of DMRC in the context of state government's additional financial commitment."
Replying to this, Kejriwal wrote that his government is willing to bear half of the grant if only matching grant is provided by the Central government.
"Let an assessment be made of the financial gap likely to be created on the account of the postponement of the second fare hike and we will be able to bear half of it," he wrote.
Slamming the Centre, Kejriwal took up the example of Kolkata Metro, saying, "Since the Central government bears 100 per cent for Kolkata Metro, I see no difficulty if it bears 50 per cent in case of Delhi."
Kejriwal alleged that the Union government disposed of the proposals of the Delhi government.
"From the recent development, it is becoming evident that the relationship is not one of the equal partners, since what the Delhi government proposes is often summarily disposed of by the Central government," he wrote.
He also wrote that until any decision of taking over or loan sharing, the partnership with the Centre would remain.
Earlier, Kejriwal had called for putting on hold the proposed hike in the Delhi Metro's fares till its accounts were audited.
He said an audit of the accounts of DMRC's accounts was necessary as in the past private power distribution companies used to hike electricity charges by allegedly showing fake losses.
The DMRC wants a hike in the fares as it has a "huge loan liability" and a rapidly rising operating ratio, meaning that its expenditure as against every rupee earned is going up.