The steep hike in Delhi metro fares, an unprecedented 100% in five months, is a glaring instance of how the interests of the aam aadmi are so easily short-changed by traditional policymaking in the garb of sound economics. The Aam Aadmi Party, led by CM Arvind Kejriwal, has vigorously opposed this anti-people move raising the fundamental question: Was the Delhi metro built for profits?
AAP leader Atishi Marlena has explained why the Delhi government is opposed to the hike. Several newspapers and opinion leaders have voiced support for AAP’s position. An Indian Express editorial said DMRC’s methods belie economic logic, while independent analyses published in Mumbai Mirror, Indian Express, First Post and Asia Times show a wide range of arguments how the metro fare hike is opaque and undemocratic, the annual loss reported by DMRC is notional, and how the fare hike risks alienating the very masses which a mass transit system is supposed to serve.
Faced by AAP’s relentless opposition, the Centre has now agreed to set up an independent expert group to review the finances of DMRC and the economics of fare hike. The obvious question is – why not earlier? The Delhi Assembly has set up a nine member committee as well to examine the rationale of the fare hike. What do you think?