New Delhi/Mumbai, Oct : Passengers have condemned a government move to hike railway fares by two per cent for all classes because of a rise in the prices of diesel and power.
The revised fares will also apply to tickets issued in advance for a journey to commence on or after Oct er 7.
Vijay Kumar, a passenger, felt that under the UPA regime, the common man has always ended being a victim of the price rise.
The Railway Ministry is also considering a revision of fares of AC classes.
At least 200 billion dollars will be needed as expenditure for the Indian railway network over the next decade alone, according to consultancy McKinsey, though it suggests that the figure is closer to 300 billion dollars, and will include the creation of five high-density freight corridors.
At present, about 20 million people travel daily on the railway network.
Suresh Pande, a passenger in Mumbai, said the increase in railway fares has made a further hole in the common man’s pocket.
“Prices have increased and it is taking toll on the budget. We are people who earn very less and if all the money is spent in purchasing the ticket, then what will we eat on the way and what will we take home. We had a lot of expectations from government but the way they are increasing the prices, I do not think they will be able to do anything,” said Pande.
This is the second time in a year when prices of rail fares have been increased, while a similar hike of about 1.7 per cent in freight would come into effect from Oct er 10 under the Fuel Adjustment Component or FAC.
Critics regard Indian Railways as emblematic of the nation’s problems overall: stifling bureaucracy, inefficiency and most importantly a lack of public funding and a political unwillingness to open up to abundant private capital.
A report submitted to the government concluded that modernising the rail system could potentially add 1.5-2.0 percent to economic growth, creating new jobs, saving energy, improving the environment and moving people and goods more efficiently around the country.
The clock is ticking for the railway network, a vital but broken asset that could yet help put the Indian economy back on track – if only there was the political will. (ANI)