Indian Railways' earnings have gone up in the April-December 2013 period due to increase in freight rate and passenger fares, but passenger bookings have dropped compared to last fiscal, causing worry to the national transporter.
Railways earned Rs 1,01,665.95 crore during April- December 2013 compared to Rs 89,701.14 cr during the same period previous year, registering an increase of 13.34 per cent, according to Railway Ministry data.
Though earnings from passenger and goods services have gone up, passenger bookings have come down in the last 11 months of the current fiscal by 0.84 per cent, a concern for the cash-strapped Railways.
"It is a minimal decline but still it is a cause of concern. It could be seasonal variation also. We are studying the pattern to find out the reason," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The total goods earnings have gone up from Rs 62,016.30 cr during April-December 2012 to Rs 68,782.53 cr during the same period in 2013, registering an increase of 10.91 per cent.
The total passenger earnings during this period in 2013 were Rs 27,646.10 cr compared to Rs 23,024.26 cr during the same period last year, registering an increase of 20.07 per cent.
The total numbers of passengers booked during April¿ December 2013 were 6359.77 million compared to 6413.89 million during the same period last year, showing a decrease of 0.84 per cent.
However, in the suburban sector, there is a growth with the number of passengers booked in April-December 2013 were 3415.79 million compared to 3347.13 million during corresponding period last year, showing an increase of 2.05 per cent.
Suburban trains are operational in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai and a limited operation in Delhi. All passenger services including mail and express are in the non-suburban sector.
The passenger bookings in the non-suburban sector have registered negative growth. The number of passengers booked during April-December 2013 period were 2493.98 million as against 3066.76 million during the same period in 2012, a decrease of 4 per cent.
The earnings from other coaching amounted to Rs 2862.22 cr during April-December 2013 compared to Rs 2345.23 cr during the same period last year, an increase of