Railways await PM's nod for fare hike
New Delhi: Railways is waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nod to go ahead with the proposed hike in passenger fare and freight rate.
"I will discuss the fare issue with the Prime Minister. A decision will be taken after discussion with the PM," Railway Minister D V Sadanand Gowda said today after meeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here.
Seeking a significant rise in gross budgetary support, Gowda, along with Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and senior railway officials, met Jaitley as part of the pre-budget discussion.
Asked when he would meet the PM, Gowda said "shortly".
The national transporter, facing a loss of about Rs 900 crore per month in passenger segment, had on May 16 announced a hike in both passenger fares and freight rates by 14.2 percent and 6.5 percent respectively from May 20. However, the hike notification was put on hold later in the day leaving the decision to the next Railway Minister.
Railways was aiming to garner Rs 8000 crores through the increase in passenger and freight charges last month.
About the pre-budget discussion with Jaitley, the Railway Minister said "it was a fruitful meeting with the Finance Minister who suggested some measures which will be reflected in the rail budget."
Gowda said "we have sought more budgetary support. There is a need for more funds for national projects."
Gowda also discussed various ways for getting funds for rail projects like FDI, PPP or bonds.
Asked about the possibility of creating a separate safety fund, Gowda said "this is the need of the hour as our chief concern is safety of passengers."
On 100-day target, he, however, said "our focus is for five years and not just 100 days. We may be taking certain steps internally but our focus will be for five-year programme."
He also said there will be a review of all projects for prioritising while all ongoing projects will be given priority in the budget.
Gowda has written to all Chief Ministers to become partners in rail projects.
"I have written to all CMs seeking state partnership in sharing 50 percent of cost beside giving land for the project," he said.
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