The parliamentary standing committee on railways has advocated a reduction in passenger fares as a measure of passing on the benefits of the fall in oil prices to the travellers. It urged the railways ministry to review the fuel adjustment component (FAC) of operational costs.
In its report submitted in Parliament on Monday, the committee urged the ministry to review the FAC and other costs to “safeguard the interests of the common man”.
The committee headed by former railways minister Dinesh Trivedi also asked the transporter to refrain from indirect hikes in fare and freight tariffs. “Fare and freight rates have been increased by 40-65%, while – during the past five years – charges like cancellation, reservation, tatkal, superfast surcharge and ‘mela’ surcharge were increased by 27% to 100%,” says the report.
Railways started the system of half yearly meetings in 2013 to review the FAC to adjust passenger fares in accordance with the global rates of crude oil. Crude oil rates fell from $106 per barrel in July 2014 to $26 per barrel in January 2016.
“The committee is not satisfied with the reason cited by the ministry for not extending the benefit of the decline in diesel prices to the passengers,” says the 9th rep ort of the committee.