Despite this being an election year,Railways has decided to keep the process of financial reform going by marginally hiking its tariffs fares and freight from next week to offset its mounting fuel bills.
Fares of mail/express trains will go up by 2 per cent while freight will see a 1.7 per cent jump. Daily passengers have been spared of the hike as general class of suburban and passenger trains and monthly pass holders will not see an increase.
This is the first time ever that passenger fares have been increased twice in a year.
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge agreed with the ministrys proposal that had argued that the burden of increased fuel costs of Rs 1,250 crore needed to be offset by implementing the dynamic Fuel Adjustment Component from October as was envisaged in this years Rail Budget. The Railways had also fallen short of its earnings target from the passenger segment by around Rs 2,000 crore.
But interestingly,the mop up may leak out from some other channel as the annual Productivity Linked Bonus giving 12.37 lakh non-gazetted employees 78 days wages approved on Thursday will take Rs 1,043 crore away from Railways.
Freight rates saw an increase last in April apart from the 15 per cent annual busy-season charge that railways decided to implement between October and March.
The increase in fares will come into effect from Monday while the new freight rates will be applicable from Thursday. Passengers who booked in advance will have to pay the balance charges to the travelling ticket examiner.