In the wake of increase in diesel prices, the Railway Ministry is planning to raise fares of AC and first-class travel in express and special trains, Minister for Railways M. Mallikarjun Kharge said here on Tuesday.

Passenger fares (second class), however, will not be touched, he clarified at a press conference.

Freight earnings

“Reduced freight earnings have also made us think of increasing freight charges,” he said. “The rise in fuel prices is a challenge for us. Budgetary support from the Union government has reduced, while the cost of routine operations has escalated. The number of projects we need to take up is rising. This is why we are exploring the option of increasing fares of express and special trains,” he said.

About Rs. 7,000 crore to Rs. 8,000 crore is spent on fuel and maintenance of trains per year. There has been significant increase in the fuel bill due to the rise in diesel prices. But this has not affected the quality of service or the pace of railway projects, Mr. Kharge said.

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