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DMRC chief calls for fare hike to improve financial condition

DMRC chief calls for fare hike to improve financial condition
Delhi Metro fares are likely to be hiked as the management is pushing for a fare hike to improve its financial condition.

Arguing for a hike, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Chief Mangu Singh said that the Metro’s finances would be hit if its fares, last increased in 2009, were not revised.

Pitching for early implementation of the fare-fixation committee’s recommendations, Singh said, “As far as finances are concerned, till now it is being managed, but yes it will affect in future if fares are not increased.”

The committee, in its final report submitted in September, had proposed an increase of up to 66 per cent in ticket prices.

On being asked whether managing a system as large and complex as the Delhi Metro was sustainable in the long run without raising fares, Singh said there was no doubt that fares needed to be revised periodically.

“Otherwise, you cannot sustain because the costs of input will go on rising,” he said.

The fares last increased in 2009 have not been revised since, the DMRC chief maintained. Since then, the cost of electricity has gone up manifold. Cost of per-unit power in 2009-10 was Rs 3.21, which doubled to Rs 7.25 a unit in 2015-16.

DMRC’s energy expenditure in 2009-10 was Rs 83.2 crore, which rose to a whopping Rs 520.5 crore in 2015-16. DMRC consumes 65 per cent of energy for traction, with 35 per cent consumed 
by other auxiliary services for various passenger facilities such as air-conditioning, lighting, fire and hydraulics, lift escalators, etc.

Expenditure towards energy constitutes 38 per cent of DMRC’s total operational expenses. DMRC, which suffered a net loss of Rs 708.5 crore in 2015-16, has the liability of returning interest on loan, return of the principal and depreciation.

Asked if a tough stand was required on his part to negotiate the politics over raising ticket prices, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) chief said the process was already on and the Metro’s suggestions have also been factored into. “There is no need of any hard talk. The process is on,” he said.

The recommendations of the fare revision committee need to be implemented. We hope it happens,” he said.

The panel has recommended the lowest fare of Delhi Metro to be increased to Rs 10 from Rs 8, and the maximum fare to Rs 50 from Rs 30 at present.

The Delhi government had recently approved five-year extension to Singh, who had taken over as DMRC Managing Director in 2012.

The proposal, however, will be put before the Urban Development ministry as the ministry and the Delhi government have 50-50 partnership in DMRC.
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