Bansal rules out further hike in freight tariff
New Delhi: Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal Monday ruled out any further hike in freight tariff after the latest increase in diesel price by Rs 1 for bulk consumers.
"The Rs 1 hike in diesel will cost railways an additional burden of Rs 300 cr annually. But we are not going to revise the freight rate for this hike," he said on the sidelines of a seminar here.
Railways has proposed about five percent fuel adjust component (FAC)-linked hike in freight rate in the Rail Budget.
After the virtual decontrol of diesel price in January, the fuel price was hiked again by Rs 1 for bulk consumers such as railways, Defence and state road transport corporations on March 1. The hike in diesel price was necessitated by the firming up of international oil rates.
Asked whether FAC for revising the fare suggested in Rail Budget will be applicable after the recent diesel hike, Bansal said, "It has to be done only once in six months. We analysed the fuel increase in the last six months so that we can plan for our next six months. But I cannot say what will be final shape to it."
On the need for taking hard decisions taking into account railway's financial condition, he said, "I have a taken a few steps and there was criticism over that. But we have to take everyone along in a democracy. Hard decisions are taken some time but it should not be that hard that it hurts the people."
Asked repeatedly whether there was any scope for further hike in the wake of latest round of diesel hike, Bansal said, "I am ruling out another hike in railway fares because of the Rs 1 fuel hike."
Railways' fuel requirement has gone up to 300 cr litres in a year for running about 4500 diesel locomotives.
While the January diesel hike has cost railways Rs 3300 cr in a year, the latest increase will make the national transporter poorer by Rs 300 cr.