Passenger fare to rise? Railway Minister says no



New Delhi: Amidst talk of possible passenger fare hike, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Friday said that nothing will be done to "increase the burden" on common man.

"The easiest way is to raise fares. But that is not the idea," Trivedi said.

He claimed that even railway unions are pressurising him for fare hike.

"I have got pressure from the unions for the fare hike but I am not going to do anything which will be a burden on common man," the minister said,

Asked what was the way out, he said, "I will knock at the doors of the Prime Minister, Finance Minister. I will approach Planning Commission. We will also come out with innovative ways to raise fund."

Pointing out that bus fares cost more than train's, he said, "There are people who can afford many-fold hike. But what about people who are in rural areas? Rail is used by poorest of poor and we will not do anything that will create any burden on him. We have to think about them."

He said fuel price and consumption of electricity has gone up. "So why can't we have our own power plant", he asked.

"Before we do that (fare hike) we have to think of all other options."

Trivedi said there is a need for improving catering service and increasing cleanliness in trains and stations. "We have to improve our catering and cleanliness. So before increasing the fares we must give back something to the passengers."

Admitting to a fund crunch, he, however, said safety related work will not suffer due to it. "There will be no compromise on safety."

On the recent Arakonnam accident, he said the Commissioner Railway safety, Southern Zone, is conducting the inquiry and preliminary report will be submitted. Before that nothing can be said, the minister added.

PTI