Rail travel goes costlier
Sleeper class fare hiked by 6 paise/km, AC 3-tier by 10 paise
New Delhi, Jan 9: Without waiting for the next budget, Railway Minister Pawan Bansal Wednesday announced increase in rail fares.
The increase varying between 2 paise to 10 paise per km would be effective from midnight January 21. Curiously, the fares remained untouched for the past nearly a decade.
Bansal promised that the upcoming railway budget will hold no further increase.
The hike would hit passengers of AC first class, AC three tier and AC chair car the most as they would have to pay 10 paise more per km. The increase would be 6 paise per km for AC 2 tier and sleeper class.
The fare of second class mail and express trains was increased by 4 paise per km, while for the first class and second class ordinary (non-suburban) it was hiked by 3 paise per km. Second class ordinary (suburban) fares were also increased by 2 paise per km.
Justifying the increase that he described as "moderate", Bansal said, "After careful consideration of all resources, finances of railways, etc. we have decided to effect increase in the fares from January 21."
"There has been no revision in basic fares for 10 years. This had a telling effect on finances of railways," Bansal said, adding that from 2004-05 to 2010-11, the losses had shot up from Rs 1,059 crore to Rs 19,964 crore at an annual increase of 18 per cent.
The minister said that the Indian Railways was making all efforts to raise revenues and ensure better passenger safety.
The minister said the hike is expected to yield Rs 6,600 crore to the Railways.
He said in 2010-11 the Railways lost nearly Rs 20,000 crore and the losses this year are likely to mount to a colossal Rs 25,000 crore.
Last year when then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi announced increase in fares it incensed his party's leader Mamata Banerjee. The hike had to be withdrawn and the minister was dismissed at the behest of Banerjee.
Reacting to the hike, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, "A hike is justified if services are good enough (and Railways) starts providing safety, better amenities and services."
But Trinamool Congress isn't happy with the announcement. Party's Member of Parliament and a former minister Sougato Roy said, "They have hiked fares across all classes. It is very unfortunate that no relief has been given to the middle class. We oppose this."
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST
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