NATIONAL

Panel suggests hike in train fares

Hike in passenger train fares, particularly in suburban services, and increase in the minimum distance to be covered in passenger and express trains have been recommended by an official committee in its report submitted to the Railways.

The D.K. Mittal Committee, formed on December 4 this year to suggest ways and means to raise the revenue of the Railways, has recommended that the minimum distance of travel in passenger train should be increased from existing 10 km to 20 km and in mail/express segment it should be increased from 50 km to 100 km.

Currently, even if a passenger travels less than 10 km he is charged for the distance in a passenger train and 50 km in mail/express trains.

The panel said the current suburban fares were 60 per cent less than road travel cost and emphasised the need for increasing fares in a gradual manner.

The committee also suggested that the railway PSUs be given the task to execute rail projects. “The PSUs should be given a free hand to raise funds from the banks and after completion of the projects, they would be handed over to the Railways,” said a senior Railway Ministry official who was privy to the report. — PTI

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