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In May 2017 the Delhi Metro's fare was hiked after a span of nine years, the last hike came in the year 2009. In Oct 2017, just in the 5th month of the most recent fare hike, the Delhi Metro's fare was again revised with a considerably huge raise. In the Delhi Metro, the central government of India and the state government of Delhi, both are equal partners i.e. 50% shareholders. The second phase of the fare hike which came in Oct 2017 was opposed by the Arvind Kejriwal led state government of Delhi but to no positive effect. Despite the disagreement of the state government of Delhi, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) went ahead with the proposed fare hike.

Though all the action pertaining the cause helped the television ratings go haywire, there was no actual benefit of the political drama that unfolded a few weeks before the second hike this year. The beneficiaries from this seemingly staged political saga do not include the common citizen of the national capital region (NCR). The common man, at the end of all the drama, is left empty handed with a humongous problem to deal with. This enormous hike in terms of percentage has left many a daily metro commuters with a hole in their pocket. A hole, no matter how small or big will affect the lives of the common man to an extent the political heroes could never understand. If they could, India would have been a completely different place altogether.

The minimum fare after being revised for the second time this year has come up to Rs 10, while the maximum fare which was earlier Rs 30 has come up to Rs 60 after the second phase of the hike. So, in a way, the fare has been doubled in a matter of just 5 months. The DMRC has cited the increasing cost of electricity and maintenance works and salaries of staff as the reason behind the steep hike in fares. Albeit, it is true that staff costs, the cost of energy and the cost of repair and maintenance have been increasing manifold, but it has been increasing steadily over a period of many years. So, why was the DMRC so desperately eager to carry out such a steep hike just in the matter of a few months? It is an organized corporation which I am sure analyses profit and loss regularly, so why were they blatantly ignorant of the fact?  They sure are not blind, so they definitely were ignorant. Their ignorance seems to be the root cause of this unsolvable problem. The DMRC board does not comprise any common man, only if there was a man on the board who commutes to work in the Delhi Metro, who has dealt with the horrors of budget maintenance, who has commuted to work in an overcrowded metro bogey for as long as he could remember, who survives the atrocities of this cruel world month by month solely dependent on the paycheck he receives on the 1st of every month, who does not have the slightest idea on how he would survive even a few days if his paycheck is delayed, who send his kids to a government school and not a private “luxury” school, who has always wanted to buy a personal vehicle but never had the money, who has worked on weekends and holidays, who cleans up the big guys’ office, who does the dishes in privileged homes, who cleans the car of tycoons' and drives them around the city. Only if there was such a person on the board of DMRC, and only then the ignorance might have been worthy of the common man’s forgiveness.

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Written By Anikesh Johari

Emancipated from Mental Slavery!

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