Bharatiya Janata Party workers protest metro fare hike, detained

Mumbai, Jun : Several BJP supporters were today detained while protesting outside the state-run MMRDA office against the hike in metro rail fares, police said. Led by Mumbai unit chief of the party Ashish Shelar, BJP workers staged a protest at the office of Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, part of the consortium that runs Mumbai metro, at Bandra-Kurla Complex. Shelar alleged the hike was the result of a “match fixing” between the government and Reliance Infrastructure, another partner in the consortium.

Reliance Infrastructure is now demanding a fare hike. This is match-fixing by the company and the government,” he alleged, adding the government should have ordered an audit of the company following a “huge escalation” in project cost. When contacted, a Reliance Infrastructure spokesman declined to comment. ”We detained as they wanted to break the barricades and enter the MMRDA office which is a prohibited area. They were let off with a warning,” Kundalik Nigade, Senior Police Inspector of BKC police station, said.

Mumbai Metro fares have been caught in a row ever since the commencement of its operations earlier this month with the goverment insisting on Rs 9-13 band fixed under the concession agreement, while Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) has announced fares ranging between Rs 10 to Rs 40 on the 11.4 KM Versova-Ghatkopar route. MMRDA had moved the Bombay High Court against MMOPL decision on increased fares. However, the chourt had yesterday declined to intervene and asked the Centre to direct the fare fixation committee to fix the tariff.