On a day the Delhi Metro fare hike came into force, the Delhi assembly on Tuesday decided to set up a nine-member committee to look into the rationale behind the increase.
Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel will nominate members to the committee, which will also look into the “financial health of DMRC and other issues”.
The decision to appoint the committee was taken at the end of a discussion on the hike.
AAP leader and former Delhi Minister Somnath Bharti moved a proposal on the committee in the house, which was agreed to by other members. The ruling AAP has 66 members in the 70-member assembly, with remaining four members belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) put into effect the fare hike — second this year after an increase in May — from Tuesday despite strong opposition from the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi.
Speaking during the discussion in the house, AAP MLAs dubbed the hike as a “conspiracy to help cab aggregators like Ola and Uber”.
AAP MLA Sanjeev Jha initiated the discussion and said they were ready to protest and do everything possible to force reversal of the fare hike.
His party colleague Saurabh Bharadwaj termed the hike a “conspiracy to help cab aggregator Ola”.
“Compared with the current Metro fare, Ola Share is cheaper now,” he said.
He claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken excessive interest in Ola in the past and even praised one of their drivers on Twitter.
On Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the fares will be increased so that cab aggregators Ola and Uber are cheaper and people give up using Metro services.
On Tuesday, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot and other MLAs also voiced similar views.
AAP MLA Alka Lamba dubbed Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and central government as “dictatorial” and said her party will hit the streets and force the Centre to reverse the fare hike.
Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the hike was a conspiracy to increase congestion on Delhi roads and create more problems rather than solving anything.
He said the AAP goverment had halved the airport Metro fares, after which fare collections from the route had doubled.
The Minister said the DMRC should focus on real estate development as many DMRC multistoreyed buildings were lying vacant.
Jain said Delhi Metro was a “social venture” to end congestion on Delhi roads and not a business venture.
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sat on the Fare Fixation Committee report on fare hike for four months and acted only at the last moment, claiming he was helping Ola and Uber.
He said the Delhi government was intentionally delaying Phase IV of Delhi Metro to help these cab aggregators.