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Mumbai, May 16: Although union railway minister Lalu Prasad had relaxed the burden on suburban commuters by not hiking the passenger fare during the railway budget, Mumbai commuters will be subject to a hidden cost.

This is to be collected from suburban commuters and levied as a ‘surcharge’ on the Phase I of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)’.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), the nodal agency executing the projects under MUTP, is planning to make collections to repay the World Bank loan.

MRVC had levied a surcharge in 2003 and another surcharge was supposed to be levied in 2006. As this was not imposed, it could be levied from September this year. So, passengers will be paying Rs1 more for second class tickets and Rs2 more for first class tickets daily, while the surcharge on season tickets will be Rs5 and Rs10 for second and first class respectively.

MRVC has received an in-principle approval from the railway ministry and the state government to explore the possibility of raising a loan of Rs650 crore from national and international financial institutions, to fund the Rs1,300 crore Phase II rail component of MUTP. The balance Rs650 crore would come from the state in the form of a grant. The state had indicated that MRVC can approach the World Bank for financial assistance only if loans cannot be raised from other financial institutions.

The suburban rakes are designed to carry about 1,700 passengers, but during peak hours they carry over 5,000 passengers.


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