Parliament panel for review of FAC for benefit of Indian Railways passengers

By: |
New Delhi | April 25, 2016 6:51 PM

A Parliamentary committee has asked the Indian Railways to review the fuel adjustment component (FAC) for the benefit of passengers without any further delay.

indian railwaysThe Standing Committee on Indian Railways in its latest report noted that there was a shortfall of passenger traffic in 2015-16. (PTI)

A Parliamentary committee has asked the Indian Railways to review the fuel adjustment component (FAC) for the benefit of passengers without any further delay.

The Standing Committee on Railways in its latest report tabled in Parliament today noted that the Railways had announced the continuation of the FAC while revising passenger fares every six months.

FAC envisages that the passenger fares will be determined as per the energy bill which includes power and diesel cost incurred by railways.

FAC-linked revision in passenger fares was carried out twice by the Railways. The first revision was an increase by 2 per cent effected in October 2013 and another by 4.2 per cent in June 2014 in passenger fares.

However, barring these two cases, there has been no FAC-linked revision in railways so far though there was downward revision in diesel prices.

The railways has maintained that the expansion and modernisation of railway network requires greater resources.

The 31-member committee headed by TMC MP and former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi is not convinced with the railways’ point of view and has asked the Railway Ministry to review the FAC at the earliest in order to “safeguard” the interests of the common man so that they can also benefit from the fall in petroleum prices.

The committee has noted that the Railways has not been able to generate enough internal resources due to tepid growth of the core sector of the economy, global economic slowdown, besides some factors not under the control of the public transporter.

The report said the Railways will be compelled to go in for more and more market burrowing to relieve the strain on internal resources.

Since the burden on internal resources would be more acute with the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission award, the committee has urged the ministry to explore and review all possible areas where resources could be mobilised to meet their growth plans.

The committee has also asked the Railways to explore the possibility of constituting a non-lapsable special railway safety fund for 5-6 years to complete the much required safety works.

The Standing Committee on Indian Railways in its latest report noted that there was a shortfall of passenger traffic in 2015-16.

Except natural calamities, other factors responsible for the decrease in passenger traffic should be looked into and promptly addressed so that such hindrances do not adversely affect rail movement in future, the report said.

It has also asked the Railway Ministry to examine the reasons for passenger dissatisfaction with existing amenities and services provided by the Railways and address them effectively.

Noting the efforts being made by the Railways to come out of the severe resource crunch, the committee has said extending facilities for unreserved category passengers should not be overlooked and hoped that they would be provided appropriate services.

Only six per cent of train passengers travel on reserved berths or seats.

The panel took note of severe network congestion and under-investment for quite some time and said huge investment is needed to improve the services to shore up revenue to service debt.

The panel also asked the Railways to ensure that there is optimal and efficacious utilisation of funds with timely completion of the projects to avoid cost escalation.

It suggested that the Railways should critically analyse bankability of projects and also utilise the “high-cost and risk infected” market borrowing in commercially viable areas with assured returns.

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