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Rail fares to be dearer

Citizens are not going to be pleased with railway’s proposal to increase rail fares as they demand better passenger amenities

The common man who already have to bear the brunt of the Modi government’s demonetisation campaign will have to shell out more for railway commute as railways are likely to revise fares for creation of a special safety funds for eliminating train accidents. Indian railways had sought safety fund amounting to Rs 1.19 trillion from the finance ministry in the aftermath of the Kanpur train accident which claimed 150 lives. Funds were meant to be used for upgrading tracks, construction of bridges and installing new signalling gear to avert accidents. However, the finance ministry has declined the railways proposal for safety fund and hence it is mulling to raise fares.

The fares for Sleeper, Second Class and AC three-tier will be increased, while AC two-tier and AC one-tier will see a marginal increase in the fares. However, a final decision on the fare hike has not yet been made.

“Railways are not keen on increasing fares at a time when there has been a fall in passenger bookings after AC-2 and AC-1 charges were revised. Railways don’t have any other option besides hiking ticket rates after Finance Ministry has refused to offer funds for enhancing rail safety,” source said.

Mumbaikars are not pleased with the railway’s proposal to increase rail fares. According to them, rail fares have already been increasing since last two to three years and there is no need for further revision.

Satish Rohankar a financial executive working with a private bank in Andheri said, “Already railways have revised fares of long distance trains and suburban section of Mumbai then why are they imposing further burden on people. Railways should focus on providing better passengers amenities first before increasing fares.”

Rahul Singh a software developer working with an IT firm  said, “I was planning to visit my native place in April. If railways increase fares then it will cause further inconvenience to everyone. Already the common man is finding it difficult to make both ends meet.”

Ashish Seth a Borivali resident said, “There is no need for a fare hike as railways are already earning revenues after revising rate of platform tickets and cancellation charges. They should also reduce the period of advance booking from 120 days to 60 days as they are earning more revenue through this step. At present people book train tickets four months in advance. Later they cancel their tickets and hence railways earn more money when they deduct cancellation charges from such passengers.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier rejected Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal seeking Rs 1,19,183 crore to create the special Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh for undertaking various safety works. The Finance Ministry offered to provide only 25% and asked Railways to raise the rest of the resources on its own.

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