Amid theories of traveler price rise in not so distant future, railroad board director V K Yadav said on Thursday that rail routes are ‘justifying’ its travelers and cargo fees. He said the freight rates are as of now high.
Officials said that while increasing freight is the only major solution to overcome the financial crisis, in the current situation there is little room for it, so raising passenger fares is the only immediate option before the railway.
However, at night, a spokesman for the rail sector said: ‘There are no proposals to raise prices. Rationalization of fare is being considered, which does not mean that prices will go up, but could also go down.
On November 27, they reported for the first time how the Prime Minister’s Office asked the railways to ‘explore the possibilities of the planned increase in passenger fares’ and ‘to raise public awareness of the need for rationalization’. The financial viability of the railways was discussed at a meeting of transport infrastructure ministers lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 23.
Yadav acknowledged that rail funding is a concern. He said that although the estimated expenses, including the pension of 13 lakh employees, are Rs. 2.18 crore, the railways earn about Rs. 2 crores. ‘Almost 25% of income goes to pension.
The railway board chairman additionally referred to limitations, which have a direct effect on freight movement. Nearly 50% of the 34,000 km rail network that holds 96% of traffic remains one line. ‘We have identified 58 projects that will be necessary to increase freight traffic and can be completed with an investment of Rs 8,000 crore only. The organization must be dynamic to drive these initiatives and the reorganization of rail services must obtain the desired results. ‘
Showing that increasing freight, enabling increasingly private players to run trains and private interest in station promotion will be the focus regions to build an income, the railway board will currently have a part managing ‘jobs and business improvement’. By November-end, the income from freight had fallen by Rs 14,600 crore against the objective.
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