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Delhi metro second most unaffordable in the world: CSE study

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Delhi Metro

Delhi metro, whose fares were nearly doubled last year, is the second most unaffordable transport network in the world after Hanoi in Vietnam, said a study by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

After the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) hiked tariff twice last year, in May and October, metro fares nearly doubled: the maximum went up from Rs.30 to Rs.50 and then to Rs.60.

As a consequence, the CSE study shows, the Delhi Metro has received nearly 32 percent less, or a drop of approximately 4.2 lakh passengers, this year than the number of daily passengers it had hoped to serve.

While the average daily ridership projections made by DMRC in 2016 stood at around 40 lakh for this year, it has been only around 27 lakh — 31.66 percent less than the projections, the study said.

This, say CSE experts, “is symptomatic of the lack of overall policy for pricing of all transport services and a lack of strategy for funding of these systems and increasing ridership.”

The fare hikes have rendered Delhi metro unaffordable for the common masses. A middle-income commuter of the Delhi Metro on an average spends 19.5% of her income on travel, the CSE data showed. Experts from the organisation said a commuter should not have to spend more than 15% of the income on any mode of transport.

In case of the economically weaker sections, this percentage share increases to 22% of their income.

Affordability is defined as the percentage of commuters’ total income spent on travel.

The calculations, based on the fourth Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) report for the Delhi Metro, showed that 30% of Delhi’s commuters are within the monthly group of Rs 20,000.

Gautam Patel, principal consultant (coordinates), Ahmedabad, and Gaurav Dubey, Programme Manager at Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility at CSE, said that no transit system should ask its users to spend more than 15% of their earnings on their services. In case of lower income groups, the share should not be over 10%, he said.

For example, an unskilled labourer in Delhi earning a minimum daily wage of Rs 534 on an average spends Rs 80 (15%) out of her income on transport. As per CSE’s calculations, she would spend around 8% of her income if she travels in a non air-conditioned public bus, 14% in an air-conditioned bus, and 22% travelling in Delhi Metro.

“There is no doubt that the quality of services provided by the Delhi Metro is good but the fares need to be kept in mind too,” Patel said.

Varsha Joshi, Delhi’s transport commissioner, said the fare hikes were needed to improve the quality of a transport network. However, these need to be introduced gradually.

“The question is, how much fare is affordable for a particular quality if ride. Indexing of fares is a possibility, where fares can be incrementally increased indexed to inflation,” Joshi said.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) defended these fare revisions, saying these were revised after a gap of nine years, during which there was an increase of almost 90% in power tariffs and other input costs.

“The fares were revised by an independent FFC through a well-defined mechanism and not by the DMRC itself,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC.

Dayal said this year the Metro has already expanded its network by more than 60km and will have a network of 350km in the coming months.

“The Delhi Metro is providing an eco-friendly and convenient travel option and periodic fare revisions are imperative to sustain such infrastructure projects in the long run,” he said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, last year, termed the fare hike “too steep”. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called the metro fare hike a “conspiracy” to benefit private cab aggregator services like Uber and Ola.

Before the hike, Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had told the Delhi government that it would need to pay Rs. 3,000 crore annually for five years if it wanted to stop the metro fare hike.

Kejriwal responded that his government was ready to provide half the funds needed to meet the gap in the metro’s finances for three months, if it was allowed to take over its operation. This was turned down by Puri who wrote back: “While I appreciate your confidence, enthusiasm and keenness to take on more responsibility, I am constrained to point out that this again is also not in line with existing policy.”

When Delhi Metro started operating in 2002, the minimum fare was Rs. 4 and maximum was Rs. 8.

India News

DGCA fines Go First Rs 10 lakh for leaving behind 55 passengers at Bengaluru airport

The incident took place on January 9 at 5:45 am when the passengers were about to board Go First flight G8-116 from Bengaluru to New Delhi.

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GoFirst flight

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Friday fined Go First Rs 10 lakh for leaving behind 55 passengers at the Bengaluru airport earlier this month and violating the rules.

The incident took place on January 9 at 5:45 am when the passengers were about to board Go First flight G8-116 from Bengaluru to New Delhi. Reports said a total of airbuses were sent to pick up the passengers for the aircraft. While the first two buses went ahead, the other two were left behind.

Following the incident, the DGCA issued a show cause notice to the responsible manager of the airlines and directed them to take enforcement actions against Go First for the dereliction of their regulatory obligations.

Replying to the DGCA, the airline released a statement saying the airline had launched an inquiry into the matter assuring it is being investigated. The airlines also offered a free ticket for travel on any domestic route to all the affected passengers.

A senior DCGA official reacted to the reply and said the airline failed to provide adequate ground arrangement handling, flight dispatch and passenger and cargo handling, and preparation of load and trim sheet.

DGCA further enforced action and penalised Rs 10 lakh for violation of CAR Sections 3, Series C, Part II of the Air Transport Circular 02 of 2019, reports said.

Sharing her inconvenience through a tweet, an affected passenger called it her most horrifying experience with Go First airlines. She shared her ordeals on Twitter and called the incident the heights of negligence.

Watch the video of the incident here:

Earlier a similar incident took place wherein Singapore-bound Scoot Airlines left behind more than 30 passengers at the Amritsar Airport. The DGCA sought a report of the incident and also slammed the airlines.

In a reply to DGCA, the airlines informed that the passengers were updated about the rescheduling of the flight, however, their travel agents failed to convey them. The airlines also offered free tickets to all the affected passengers.

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India News

Who is Suhani Shah? Everything you need to know about the internet sensation

Shah entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s youngest magician at the age of seven.

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Suhani Shah

If you are an avid social media user, you might have come across the name, Suhani Shah. The 32-year-old is hogging headlines for her ability to read people’s minds. Prime Time news channels couldn’t stop covering her and tagging her as a Jadu Pari or a magician.

Shah came into the limelight amid the Bageshwar Dham row. The mentalist ripped off the 26-year-old Dham Trust chief Dhirendra Shastri’s false claims about magic and divine power.

Who is Suhani Shah?

Shah is not just a mentalist but also a social media sensation. She has a verified Instagram account with 1.2 million followers and her bio reads ‘Mentalist.’

Apart from being the cover story of magazines like Be Attractive, L’utopia, Fashion Herald, and others, she has collaborated with several Bollywood stars like Kareen Kapoor Khan, Rajkummar Rao, Boman Irani, and others.

Shah entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s youngest magician at the age of seven. An illusionist, a clinical hypnotherapist, an author, a corporate trainer, and a mentalist, she has been honoured with several awards and the title Jadoo Pari by the All India Magic Association.

Shah also owns a YouTube channel where she keeps uploading videos on mentalism, magic, vlogs, and others. Other than her social media appearance, she also runs a web shoe That’s My Job wherein she invites guests. Public figures like Zakir Khan, Triggered Insaan, Munawar Faruqui, Tanmay Bhat, Samay Raina, Nischay Malhan, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, and several others have been a part of her web show.

Born in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, Shah discontinued school in Class 2 to pursue her passion for magic. As she started her career at the age of seven and toured across the world, she was home-schooled.

In 1997, she performed on the stage for the first time at Thakorbhai Desai Hall in Ahmedabad and up until now has done over 5,000 shows in and across India.

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India News

Madhya Pradesh: Four men creep into coal mine to rob scrap iron, die of asphyxiation

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Four men, who crept into a coal mine to allegedly steal scrap iron from the place, died of asphyxiation inside in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh, reports said.

According to reports, the now-deceased men broke into a closed coal mine in Kalri under Dhanpuri police station to rob scrap iron by stripping junked machines, while one of their partners stood outside to stand guard.

However, the man standing guard became anxious when his gang members didn’t return for a long time and there was silence from inside. The man fled the spot and fearing the worst, returned back and informed his friends and family of the incident.

Reports said police got wind of the incident, and sent a rescue team inside the mine who managed to pull out the bodies of the four thieves.

Police said that four men were already when the rescue team found them inside the mine.

The deceased have been identified as Raj Mahto, Hazari Koul, Rahul Koul and Kapil Vishwakarma, police said, adding that they suspect the men died due leakage of methane gas inside the coal mine.

The mine had been shut since 2018 and the four men had reportedly dug a tunnel to get inside the coal mine.

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