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Government seeks HC nod for auto, taxi fare hike

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday sought the Bombay High Court’s approval for the proposed auto and taxi fare hike announced by the Mumbai Metropolitan Road Transport Authority (MMRTA).

The MMRTA had on May 11 proposed a hike in the basic fare for autos and taxis. The minimum fare for autos will go up from Rs. 17 to Rs. 18, while taxi fares would go up from the minimum Rs. 21 to Rs. 22.

The hike will come into effect only after the meters of the over 1.05 lakh autos and over 35,000 taxis in the city are re-calibrated. The hike was announced following recommendations by the one-man Hakim Committee.

The high court approval is necessary as a PIL by consumer rights body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) has challenged the committee and its findings few years ago.

Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani today mentioned the matter before a division bench of justices NH Patil and SB Shukre which said it would hear the matter on June 11.

MGP had yesterday filed a petition seeking a direction to defer the proposed fare hike in light of the government’s decision to junk the Hakim panel.

“The fare hikes have been based on the one-man Hakim committee report, which the state government recently announced it was scrapping to set up a larger three-member panel, headed by a retired high court judge,” said advocate Uday Warunjikar.

The MGP urged the court to order that the proposed fare hike be deferred till the three-member committee submits a report.

The court will hear Panchayat’s petition on June 11 along with the government’s application.

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