File counters on Metro fares: HC

 thehindu.com  06/03/2020 18:47:10 

The Telangana High Court on Wednesday instructed the State government and Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited to file counter-affidavits within four weeks on a PIL petition over the fares being collected for Metro Rail travel.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)s Greater Hyderabad Central City Committee filed a PIL plea seeking a direction to the government to suspend present fee chart of Metro Rail till the matter was adjudicated. Committees president M. Srinivas Reddy stated in the petition that the fare chart of Hyderabad Metro Rail was contrary to the Concession Agreement for Hyderabad Metro Rail (MRTS) project. Both State government and the Larsen and Toubro Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Private Limited were into this agreement, the petitioner said.

According to him, Article 27 of the Concession Agreement deals with user fare and Article 27.1 with collection of fares. Schedule R of the agreement enables annual revision of basic fare at 5% for 15 years from 2014. Hyderabad Metro Rail announced the fare chart with commencement of services from November 26, 2017. But these fares were in excess of what had been agreed upon in paragraph 4 of Schedule R, the petitioner said.

Moreover, the L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) received Viability Gap Fund (VGF) of 1,458 from the State government in phased manner. As per the Concession Agreement, the company was not entitled to fix the fares on receipt of VGF. The State government also allotted various lands for commercial activity to L&T Metro Rail and the latter was fully exploiting all those places. But it had fixed fares on the high side. Hence, it was illegal and arbitrary, the petitioner contended.

There was a procedure to be followed for fixation of enhanced fares like the company sending notice to the government. But no such notice had been served by the company, the petitioner stated.

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