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New year, New Shock – Hike in rail fare, LPG cylinder impacts common man

Train fare and cylinder price hike, train price, gas price, indian railway price hike, price hike, daily commodity pricesOn the very first day of the year, the government hiked railway fares while it has increased the prices of LPG gas cylinders in a big way and also the cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) by 2.6 per cent. The railway has announced a fare hike across its network effective from January 1.

While the suburban commuter have been spared, the fares of ordinary non-AC, non-suburban trains have been increased by 1 paise per km of the journey.The railways also announced a two paise/km hike in fares of mail/express non-AC trains and four paise/km hike in the fares of AC class. The fare hike will also be applicable to premium trains such as Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto.

Ronald D’souza who travels from Virar to Churchgate by first class on a monthly ticket said, “I heaved a sigh of relief when I heard that the railways have spared the suburban train commuters as far as the hike in train fares are concerned.”

The statement of the Railways reads:

1) For all AC classes, the hike is 4 paise per kilometre travelled.

2) All non-AC classes and the unreserved segment will see a 1 paisa per kilometre hike.

3) On long-distance mail/express trains, the hike will be 2 paise per kilometre.

4) Railways have decided to keep the fares of the suburban classes unchanged.

5) The fare hike is also applicable to premium trains such as Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto, as per the order.

6) According to the order, there will not be any change in the reservation fee and superfast charge.

7) The increase in fare will be on tickets bought on or after 1 January 2020 and no excess fare (difference of fare) will be charged from passengers who have booked tickets before this date.

Let’s take the case of the Delhi-Kolkata Rajdhani Express which covers a distance of 1,447 km. The hike at the rate of 4 paise per km will sum up to around Rs 58.

When AV spoke to Dharmendra Singh who frequently travels between Mumbai and Delhi by Rajdhani Express, he said, “The rise seems to be nominal. The railways have admitted that they will use the said revenue generated by the “marginal” increase in fares for the modernisation of the network.”

According to a Railway ministry order, there will not be any change in the reservation fee and superfast charge and the hike in fares will not be applicable to tickets already booked.

The last such hike was announced in 2014-2015 when fares of all classes of trains were raised by 14.2 per cent and freight charges by 6.5 per cent. However, since then, the railways introduced the flexi-fare scheme which significantly raised fares on select trains and launched trains like Vande Bharat Express and Tejas Express which have relatively higher fares. Trains with dynamic pricing like Suvidha Express were also introduced.

“Indian Railways has continuously endeavoured to augment passenger experience through modernisation of coaches and provision of improved facilities over stations. Further, the burden of 7th Pay Commission on Indian Railway has necessitated the rationalisation of the fares. In order to expand passenger amenities and facilities at various railway stations and trains, it has become imperative to increase the fare marginally without over burdening any class of passengers. Fast modernization of Indian Railways will be achieved through this fare revision,” the railways said.

The increase in the fare will be on tickets bought on or after January 1, 2020 and no excess fare (difference of fare) will be charged from passengers who have booked tickets before this date.

On the other hand, Jet fuel or Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) price was on Wednesday hiked by 2.6 per cent while that of non-subsidised cooking gas LPG has been increased by Rs 19 per cylinder on the back of a rise in international rates. The two back-to-back increases have pushed jet fuel prices to their highest since June 2019.

Rashmi Deshmukh a Borivali resident said, “The government has been increasing the price of LPG cylinder since last five months. If prices continue to increase in this manner then it will adversely affect my monthly budget. It will become difficult for me to make both ends meet.”

Price of ATF, used to power aeroplanes has been raised by Rs 1,637.25 per kilolitre (kl) or 2.6 per cent to Rs 64,323.76 per kl in Delhi, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

This is the second straight monthly increase in rates warranted due to firming up of prices in the international market. India is dependent on imports to meet 84 per cent of its oil needs while prices of domestic fuels are at par with benchmark international prices.

ATF price was on December 1 increased by a marginal Rs 13.88 per kl.

This is the fifth straight monthly increase in cooking gas prices since September 2019. In all, non-subsidised cooking gas prices have gone up by Rs 139.50 per cylinder in the last five months. Non-subsidised LPG is the gas that consumers buy after exhausting their quota of 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg at sub-market or subsidised rates of Rs 495.86.

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