Railway passenger fare hiked by 14.2% from today
NEW DELHI : After Tuesday’s pre-budgetary meeting with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to seek an enhanced central financial assistance by way of Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) to the Railways, the Railways Minister said that a decision to hike fares would be taken after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week.
“Innovative methods to raise additional funds by permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or by taking to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) route and through the floating of bonds are being considered. After the drift of the past several years, the Railways need to be infused with a new dynamism now”, Gowda told a group of journalists at Rail Bhawan.
The decision of the Railways today restores an announcement of 16 May, the day Lok Sabha election results came, when the same hike was effected but immediately put on hold. The Railways had then issued a notification effecting hike in passenger fare by 14.2 per cent across the board and freight charges by 6.5 per cent from 20 May. This was followed up with an official press release.
The then Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge came out with a statement directing the Board to leave the decision on the hike to the new government.Presenting the interim rail budget in March this year, Railways Minister D V Sadananda Gowda’s predecessor M Mallikarjun Kharge had factored in an across the board 10% hike in passenger fares besides an additional 4.5% raise as fuel adjustment component (FAC) and an increase of freight charges of 6.5%.
At a recent meeting with railway board officials, Gowda is understood to have agreed to the proposals. Figuring high on Gowda’s agenda are plans to build high speed corridors and to accord greater priority and funding to central rail projects in Jammu and Kashmir and the North Eastern states.
The exercise of reviewing the long list of pending projects worth over Rs. 1.50 lakh crore — with the possible intention of scrapping some unviable ones that have been bleeding the railways — has also been initiated by Gowda.“The ongoing and last mile projects need greater priority,” he said.