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Updated: March 23, 2012 01:36 IST

Rail fare rolled back except for high-end class

K. Balchand
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Railway Minister Mukul Roy, after assuming charge at Railway Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: R.V.Moorthy
The Hindu Railway Minister Mukul Roy, after assuming charge at Railway Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: R.V.Moorthy

Railway Minister Mukul Roy on Thursday rolled back the fare hike, except for three high-end classes of travel, which his predecessor proposed. Mr. Roy also struck down the plan to restructure Railway Board.

Without much fanfare, both Houses of Parliament ratified Mr. Roy's proposals and passed the Railway budget, bringing the curtain down on a week-long political drama that held up passage of the budget Dinesh Trivedi had presented on March 14.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had opposed the fare hike and demanded its immediate withdrawal and the resignation of Mr. Trivedi, her party's nominee in the Cabinet. He quit on Sunday paving way for Mr. Roy's elevation as Railway Minister.

Mr. Trivedi was not present in the Lok Sabha and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too was conspicuous by his absence.

Mr. Roy withdrew the hike for second class suburban and non-suburban, and sleeper class travel fare by 2 paise, 3 paise and 5 paise per km, saying it was a “huge drain on the pocket of the masses.”

He also rolled back the hike of 10 paise per km for travel in AC chair car and AC 3-tier fare stating the middle class would be hit severely. He did not say anything about the proposed hike in the fares for travel by First Class, AC 2 tier and AC 1 by 10 paise, 15 paise and 30 paise per km. This means, with the approval of Parliament, these increases will come into force from April 1.

Mr. Trivedi's decision to raise platform ticket to Rs. 5 would stay.

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Though total roll back of fare bike may not be a good idea for Railways in the long run, one has to admit that the hike was steep indeed. Though a hike of 2 or 3ps/km may sound nominal on paper, it would have really hurt long distance passengers(say Ernkaulam - Delhi & the like).
Railways should have increased the fares every five years or so. Instead the then ministers shied away from bold decision & made the biggest PSU bleed, that too heavily. Now Mr. Trivedi was trying to make up for lost chances in one go. Granted that there should be a hike, but that doesn't mean the rail fares should go up through the roof. They should have assessed the impact first & gone ahead with a sensible plan. Ms. Banerjee may be playing to the gallery; but then almost everyone is doing the same now a days. So why blame her alone, for being whimsical?

from:  ajith
Posted on: Mar 24, 2012 at 12:54 IST

How simple it would have been to roll back hiked fares for Mukulji, IF
this kind of ministry will continue for next 5-10 odd years then we
will be at the edge of losing world's third largest Railway or will be
seeking a bailout package from a government which is already in tough
situation of having high fiscal deficit rate.

from:  Ashish Dugar
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 19:33 IST

Increase in fares for 2nd ac and 1st ac has no meaning as mostly railway employees
make use of these classes and travel free. So ultimately railways won't get any
significant revenue increase by such measures. Fare hike initially proposed for
lower classes were quite insignificant, and the common man could easily afford it.
Mamta feels she has done a great favour. What she and other politicians need to
concentrate on is the hike in prices of all essential commodities.

from:  E l george
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 10:09 IST

If there are train accidents due to shortage of funds or lack of money power to buy new safety equipments then who is to be blamed.

If the railway compartments are filthy and unhygienic due to paucity
of funds then who is to be blamed.

If there are no funds for railway line expansion then who is to be

from:  madan
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 10:07 IST

What did mamta and TMC achieve by getting the roll back ? Trivedi would
have done this if told. All that Mamta has got is the displeasure from
millions of nonbengali Indians for taking the railways to bankruptcy.

from:  P.Tauro
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 07:38 IST

A couple of things have become absolutely clear 1. Mamata and her party are incapable of taking tough decisions, which may in the short term contrary to popular sentiments but in the long term good for the country 2. The tax payer will have to subsidize railway losses. As a result money that could have been used in other sectors such as healthcare, education, National highways, Power etc will now be used to offset railways losses. 3. Is showing extensive loss the first argument to attempt privatizing the railways? I would hope not. 4. There is minimal subsidy if at all any on upper class fares. So increasing this fare won't offset the subsidy burden the country has. 5. Government has to stop Robin hood style economic policies and have concrete policies to better utilize public funding. Railways is public enterprise fully capable of sustaining its operations and should be allowed to do so. 6. Loss for the government is a loss to everyone.

from:  Govind Diwakar
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 07:14 IST

Vengeance and spiteful attitude of politicians prevails over common sense. On top of that we have sacrificed a good politician who was ready to do what is needed and act on it. Where are the people's voices?!

from:  Ram S
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 02:26 IST

this will affect railways capacity to meet axpected need of consumer, industry , exports & jobs!

from:  chandrakant malani
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 01:50 IST

Hats off to Mukulda and Didiji for the roll back ! Now she can be rest assured of retaining her vote bank in Kolkata at the cost of bankruptcy of Railways.

from:  K Venkatesan
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 01:25 IST

It is most unfortunate that the fares have been rolled back by arm flexing methods again indicating how weak singhji's position has become.every platform in every station requires escalator as it is pitiable to watch elderly. disabled and arthritic patients climbing the mammoth 42 steps in each platform.salaries and bonuses to rly;staff has increased manifold in the last 8 years when the fares were raised last.

from:  DR.K.V.PATHY
Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 01:23 IST

It is clear cut case of choosing between living dangerously and living comfortably. Such frugal attitude is causing not only drain on exchaquer but encourage sub-standard living and fuels growth of populations. The quality of the product, machine and life has gone out of the window. Everybody in India seems to accept lowest quality. By imposing minimum standard, we only can aspire to induce such thinking in common man's mind. Otherwise, living in fool's paradise is the only motto of our politicians.

from:  Ketan
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 22:21 IST

I recently travelled by train and was very disppointed inspite of what I have heard from friends' praise on the progress of Indian Railways. The carriages are in terrible condition with many of the seats, fans and other equipment in repairable condition. Middle class Indians now have substantially better income and yet the railway fares are at a standstill. I believe the AC 2 tier and first class fares could go much higher to pay for improvements. Indian Railway system should deliver modern trains with comforts comparable to train systems in developed countries.

from:  Sekharan
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 21:20 IST

i couldn't understand why the upper group alone becomes scapegoat for everything. they have to pay the higher tax and charges, for them too money doesn't come by itself., they too work hard and get the fruit.. (i am not speaking of the illegally earning peoples). how many auto owner cum drivers paying the tax, how many of the daily labours paying the tax, eventhou their yearly income exceeds the slab.

from:  sayeed
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 17:04 IST

It is a foolish to say that people will get economical relief if the railway reduced 5 paise per kilometer. Mamata & team is making us fools.

from:  Azhar A
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 15:28 IST

If Mamata was really interested in the welfare of the common people, she should have rolled back the fare of sleeper and second class. Does she think that the AC-3 travelers are poor??? railways will follow the Air India way...

from:  Gibin James
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 15:28 IST

The amendments in rail fares will stand as a deterrent to many refurbishment in Indian Railways.I don't find any pragmatism over such minister's proposal. Although none says IR as a fully cash strapped organisation, still money should flow to IR for a better tomorrow keeping in the eye of huge demand in coming days. Today, if we compare ourselves with other developing nations, their railways provide many more modern facilities with no-frills journey! We have a long way to go.Mukul Roy's proposal was much expected as he has been elected my Mamta Banerjee who had created fuss over rail fare hike for professed interests. She had acted similarly when Tata had approached her for Nano plant set up in Nandigram.

from:  Amaresh
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:39 IST

I consider this decision as a national shame. Such populist measure will take the country nowhere. India is perhaps the only civilized country of the world where people want to get all the facilities for free. Nobody was protesting against the fare hike by the previous railway minister. People were merely asking for better facilities in trains and at the railway platforms. Leaders like Mamta Banerjee are curse on this country.

from:  Obaid Siddiqui
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:35 IST

can Hindu post the article it posted after fare hike .. showing how it will effect our ticket fare with new proposed hike/roll back. that was very useful please post same one with new ticket fare hike.

from:  satya
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:30 IST

Some drama on the name of common man! Is the Common man not hit by increased service tax & excise duty? We expect Didi to withdraw support from the Government to prove her "for poorest of poor" credentials.

from:  Sanjeev Singh
Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:12 IST
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