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AC Railway fare may go up

Rail fare for the AC class is likely to be hiked.

delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2011 02:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Rail fare for the AC class is likely to be hiked.

"A rationalisation of the fare structure" can be considered, railways minister Dinesh Trivedi told reporters on Friday.

Passenger fare in sleeper and general classes, however, are likely to remain untouched.

Rail fare has not been increased since 1998 although — during this 13 year period — it has been indirectly increased on several occasions.

In 2001, then railways minister Nitish Kumar had imposed a safety surcharge on passenger tickets. This was followed by the levy of a development surcharge.

During Lalu Prasad's term (2004-09), fare were indirectly raised when the "Tatkal" scheme was launched. A levy on purchase of premium tickets (tickets purchased for destinations other than the place of purchase) had also been started.

Since 2007, no formal or informal hike in passenger fare has come about.

Indications about a possible hike in passenger fare came on a day the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) came down heavily on the Railways for mismanagement of its finances.

The CAG said net revenue surplus of the Railways declined from Rs 13, 431 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 75 lakh in 2009-10.

Depreciation Reserve Fund, Development Fund and Pension Fund closed in 2009-10 with negligible balances of Rs 4.98 crore, Rs 5.41 crore and Rs 1.24 crore respectively.

"This will adversely affect the future expansion of the Railways existing services and consequently its market share in the transport sector", the report says.

For 2009-10, the gross traffic receipts fell short of the budgetary provisions by 2% (Rs 2,039 crore), while the total working expenditure over-shot the budgetary provisions by 8% (Rs 5249 crore) — an increase of 32% over the previous year.

Consequently, the operating ratio (an indicator of the financial health of the Railways) declined from 745.94% in 2007-08 to 90.46% in 2008-09.

First Published: Aug 06, 2011 00:43 IST