Foodgrains, vegetables and fruit, among others, will be costlier because the Railways has decided to increase haulage charges for container train operators by 31%.
Pawan Kumar Bansal is expected to elaborate on the decision in his first formal interaction with the media as railways minister on Wednesday.
Haulage charges, which container train operators pay the Railways for using the tracks, signalling systems and locomotives, will be increased in two stages — in December this year and February 2013.
A train’s cost of haulage from Delhi to Mumbai is currently Rs. 15,690. From February 1, it will be Rs. 20,590. Other essential commodities likely to be impacted include Basmati rice, soyabean, almonds and apples, besides garments, electronic goods, handicrafts, machinery and newsprint.
“We are demanding a rollback,” said Amitabh Chaudhary of the Association of Container Train Operators (ACTO).
The decision to hike passenger fares is likely to be kept on hold for the time being.
A second Shatabdi train from Delhi to Chandigarh and the flagging off of 20 trains are among other announcements Bansal is expected to make.