The Railway passenger fares have been increased after a decade. People have to accept the increase. In the past 10 years, the prices of diesel, electricity and spare parts, employees’ salaries, etc., have gone up. But the train fares have remained the same. Lalu Prasad reduced the train fare thrice when he was Railway Minister. The passenger train fare from Arakkonam to Tiruvallur was Rs 7 in 2005. It was reduced to Rs. 4 in 2009 — the fare that existed in 1990. Lakhs of passengers travel on this route every day. They are paying a fare they paid 22 years ago. In these 22 years, the cost of living has increased multi-fold.
Many railway projects are pending due to lack of sufficient funds. Passenger amenities and safety are also a cause for concern. In order to ensure better services, the Railways have no option but to hike passenger fares.
The increase in the railway fares cannot be termed unjustified in the context of the ever increasing prices of essential commodities. The hike in fares is the result of the decision of earlier Railway Ministers to play it safe and indulge in populist measures. People have no option but to accept the increase in fares.
There must be people in the government who derive pleasure from the sufferings of people belonging to the low income group. Otherwise, how does one explain its latest decision to increase the railway fares which will affect the second class and sleeper class passengers but not the well-heeled who travel in the AC class?
Keywords: Railway passenger fare hike