M A I N   N E W S

Hike in railway fare possible, hints Bansal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 29
In a move which could bring some relief for the empty coffers of the Indian Railway, new Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said a hike in fares was a possibility.
Taking charge of his new ministry at Rail Bhawan, Bansal said there was a possibility of a passenger fare hike to improve services in the Railways.

“Passenger fares can be hiked if needed. Primary concern is safety,” Bansal said while adding, “fare will not be increased for the sake of increasing fare. If fare will be increased, then it will be for providing better services to the passengers”.

“The improvement in services will have to be commensurate with the increase in fare," he said.

Bansal, the former Parliamentary Affairs Minister, was made the Railways Minister yesterday during the mega Cabinet reshuffle effected by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahead of the 2014 General Elections.

The post of Railways minister was left vacant after Mukul Roy, a Trinamool Congress leader, quit after his party chief Mamata Banerjee withdrew support to the ruling UPA in protest against the “big-bang reforms” unleashed by the PM that included allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and putting a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders.

Justifying the need for increasing the fares, the Railway Minister said, “We have to ensure that the vast infrastructure of the railways does not collapse and stop functioning... So we have to increase fares and assure the public that if there will be any hike, the public will also appreciate it because we are going to improve the services.” At present, the Railways are facing financial crunch and funds earmarked for many of the ongoing projects are being curtailed.

Bansal said, “I am aware of the difficulties the Railways faces. There are over 11,000 trains running daily. We know the expectations of the people. We will attempt to deliver them.”

“Punctuality and cleanliness is of utmost priority. Clean toilets are an issue to be looked at,” he added.

Bansal said the Prime Minister had announced dedicated freight corridors and he would like to start work on that. Time will tell if it's better for Congress to handle the Railways portfolio. Bansal added that all regions will get their due from Railways. The new Minister of State for Railways Adheer Kumar Choudhury, who also assumed charge, favoured a hike in passenger fares.

“Prices have increased in every area...So why not in the Railways. Common people will not oppose it if services will be proper,” said the West Bengal Congress leader and a known critic of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.

  • Punctuality and cleanliness is of utmost priority
  • Clean toilets an issue to be looked at
  • All regions will get their due from Railways
  • Aware of the expectations of the people. Will attempt to deliver





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