Mukul Roy, new Union Railway minister, is expected to partially roll back
the hike in passenger fares proposed by his predecessor, Dinesh Trivedi
Congress chief Mamata Banerjee ordered Roy as a replacement as she seemed
furious with the fare hike.
Trivedi’s defiant act led to his
Members belonging to BSP, AIADMK, and Left parties on Wednesday also made
a strong demand in the Rajya Sabha that the hike in passenger fares
announced in the Rail Budget be withdrawn while the Congress wanted the
Railway Ministry to pay more attention to safety.
Now, the fare-rise roll-back announcement is likely to be slated for
Thursday in the Lok Sabha.
Roy is widely expected to roll back at least the lower class passenger
fare hike proposed by Trivedi in the Railway Budget.
Railways has been losing thousands of crores every year in subsidizing
passenger fare which has not been touched since 2002-03.
If the rollback happens at different levels, then the Railways will be
left with only Rs 750-1000 crores in their kitty, loss of around Rs 4000
crores, which is serious question for the betterment they were seeking.
What was the hike?
Presenting a populist budget,
Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi announced marginal hike in passenger
fares ranging from 2 paisa per kilometre to 30 paisa per kilometre in
various categories of trains despite noting that Railways was passing
through a "difficult phase".
Detailed fare hike: Platform
tickets have also been raised from Rs 3 to Rs 5. In his first Railway
Budget, Trivedi announced increase in passenger fares by 2 paise per km
for suburban and ordinary Second Class, 3 paise per km for Mail/Express
Second Class and 5 per paise per km for Sleeper Class, 10 paise per km for
AC Chair Car, AC-3 Tier and First Class. AC-2 Tier will cost more by 15
paise per km while AC-1 will be dearer by 30 paise per km.
said these were aimed at rationalising the fares to cause "minimal impact"
on the common man and "to keep the burden within tolerance limits in
He said he had been counselled to go for steep increase
in passenger fares as there had been no increase in last eight years but
he desisted from doing so "guided by the overriding concern for aam aadmi
The proposed adjustments, he said, do not even
cover fully the impact of increase in fuel prices during the last eight
years. "I am keeping the valuable passengers of Indian Railways insulated
from the burden of increasing staff cost," he said.
(With inputs from Agencies)