Categorically ruling out the possibility of a partial rollback in passenger fare hikes, railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said on Thursday that his decision was a "a well-thought out" one.
"Why are these questions (of a rollback) being raised at all? Political considerations are important, but there are times when politicians must rise above them. Rail finances are extremely worrying and tough measures are required at this juncture. If there is a rollback, the Railways will collapse," he said.
Bansal, however, refused to elaborate on the reasons for leaving the Kolkata metro fares untouched.
Pegged at Rs 60,100 crore in the 2012-13 plan, the Railways plan outlay will be slashed by Rs 9,000 crore during the current year.
The Gross Budgetary Support component of the Railways budget for 2013-14, meanwhile, will be pegged at Rs 21,000 crore - down from Rs 24,000 crore last year.
"We are struggling to balance the budget," Bansal conceded.
Bansal hinted that freight charges were unlikely to increase.