The much-awaited Versova-Andheri- Ghatkopar phase of the Mumbai metro rail has cleared the last hurdle, with the Railway Board giving the permission to start commercial operations to the operator, Anil Ambani-led Mumbai Metro One.
The 11.4-km metro operations are likely to start in the next one week, as the company had earlier said it would start services "within seven days of such approval" coming. PTI has seen the copy of the Railway Board approval.
But Mumbai Metro One, however, said it is yet to receive any communication from the board in this regard. "We have not yet received any communication from the board. But we are prepared to commence operations within seven days from the receipt of the approval from the Board," Metro One chief executive Abhay Mishra told PTI.
Mumbai Metro received the safety certificate from the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety on May 2, and was awaiting approval for rolling stock from the Railway Board for which it had applied on April 22 this year. Mumbai Metro One (MMOPL) is a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and French firm Veolia Transport.
While the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infra, which is the execution agency, owns 69 per cent stake in the project,MMRDA and Veolia hold 26 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively. The Centre had already allowed the operator to fix the fares, one of the issues on which the project got delayed inordinately after the Centre brought the Mumbai Metro under the Central Metro Act. The state government had notified a minimum fare of Rs 9 and the maximum of Rs 13 in the initial year of operations.
However, RInfra has been seeking a steep revision in fares with minimum Rs 22 and maximum Rs 33, citing a near-doubling of its cost, to which the state has been objecting, leading to delay in commissioning the project. The Centre, through a notification dated February 7 had informed the state government that the Mumbai Metro will be governed by the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act of 1978, which makes the RInfra the administrator of the project who also can fix the fares afresh after obtaining a go ahead from the fare fixation committee.