Rail fares for all classes may go down in next budget

New Delhi, Dec 30 | Updated: Dec 31 2007, 05:04am hrs
The Railway ministry is planning to include a proposal for reduction of fares by 4-8% in its budget for the fiscal year 2008-09. "Fare cuts in the next fiscal is actively considered and efforts are on to minimise the overall operational cost," said a senior Railway ministry official.

According to the proposal actively considered by the ministry, passenger fares for all classes are likely to be reduced by 4-6%. The charges for AC classes are likely to be slashed down by 6-8% in lean season and 4-5% in peak season. "Besides reducing the fares, the coming rail budget will also have greater emphasis on passenger amenities," said the official.

Railways are mulling over a proposal to set up a separate authority that would supervise cleanliness in trains and platforms, he added. According to the proposal, there would be a provision for imposing fines and imprisonment for those found dirtying in the railway premises. Though the Railways act provides for fines and imprisonment for those who create nuisance in railway premises, the move aims to expand the scope of this provision by setting up a separate authority to deal with the issue. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has already announced the year 2007-08 as the 'year of cleanliness'.

Railways have also undertaken several measures for renovation and upgradation of major stations including New Delhi and Patna stations. While the total earnings of the Railways have gone up to Rs 44,472.14 crores till November this fiscal against Rs 39,669.25 crore during the same period previous year, the total passenger revenue earnings during this period was Rs 12,869.41 crores compared to Rs 11,328.74 of last year.