Indian Railways likely to hike fares

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Faced with huge financial crunch, the railways may soon announce a hike in passenger fares. However, the timing of announcing the revision in fares is still not decided.

The transporter doesn’t have to wait for the rail budget, likely to be presented in the second week of July, to announce the hike as automatic fuel adjustment policy is in place. The railways can hike fares before or after the rail budget.

The transporter had announced a hike in both passenger fares and freight rates by 14.2% and 6.5% respectively on May 16, the day results of Lok Sabha results were declared. The hike was based on automatic fuel adjustment policy. However, the decision was rolled back within hours leaving the decision to the new government.

The transporter, which is losing Rs 30 crore a day, was hoping to garner Rs.8000 crore through the increase in passenger fares and freight charges last month. The cross subsidy on passenger fares has touched Rs.26,000 crore.

An official said railway minister Sadananda Gowda has to take a call on the date of announcement of the hike which is inevitable as the transporter is facing a difficult financial position.

The UPA government had left passenger fares unchanged in the interim rail budget presented in February just ahead of the general elections.

The new minister had earlier said he would seek advice of the cabinet and Rail Tariff Authority for the hike. “We have informed the minister about the current situation. He seems convinced,” said an official.