Well before the trains started ferrying passengers down its 11-km track, the partners responsible for Mumbai’s Metro were already fighting each other in court.
The local government body, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, has taken its private partner, Reliance Infra, to court in a dispute over which of them has the authority to set the fares. “This is a fight between the people of Mumbai and a private company,” advocate EP Bharucha, representing the MMRDA, said in court at a recent hearing.
The MMRDA said that the original agreement allowed the maximum fare on the line to be set at Rs 13. But Reliance Infra has decided to charge Rs 40.
The Bombay High Court on Thursday reserved its order in the case until June 24.
This isn’t the first time the partnership aspect of the public-private partner model has resulted in a tug-of-war between public need and private enterprise. “I like to call it the P5 model instead of the PPP,” said Sudhir Badami, a civil engineer who advises the Maharashtra government on public transport issues. “P5 being the Pilferage of Public Property by Private Properties. That’s the scheme.” More info