A year ago, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report claimed that travelling by flight was cheaper than in Indian Railways train for a large number of routes.
Indian Railways officials to travel more by air? With airfares to certain destinations being cheaper than AC1 and AC2 train fares, Indian Railways has come up with a solution to increase the productivity of its officials. The Hubli, Karnataka headquartered South Western Railway zone has recently approved its officials’ request to fly to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata as airfares to these destinations are cheaper than AC1 and AC2 train fares. The General Manager, South Western Railway said that the zone has approved the proposal which states that the move would increase productivity as it takes more than 12 hours to travel between any location in the railway zone to these tier 1 cities, according to a PTI report.
In a letter sent to the General Manager, the Deputy General Manager of the zone asked for approval of air-travel for senior officials. He also stated the fact that the one way travel time by train from any location in the zone to Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata is more than 12 hours. Moreover, the flight fares of private airlines on mostly travelled routes are cheaper compared to that of AC1 and AC2 train fares. In the letter, he also stated that since meetings at Railway Board are arranged at short notice, allowing air travel will enable officials for quick movement from headquarters or division to Delhi. Thus, to improve the productivity of officers and a process reform on the zone, it is proposed to allow officials up to JS level to travel both ways by air when the one way travel time by train takes more than 12 hours, the letter added. The General Manager approved the proposal on August 1.
The General Manager, Ajay Kumar Singh was quoted in the report saying that if the officials are going to the national capital, it would take them three days to travel for just a two-hour meeting. This is in line with procedures set up by the Central government, he said. A year ago, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report claimed that travelling by flight was cheaper than in train for a large number of routes. The auditor had said in its report that compared to the cost as well as time taken for travel by premium trains, air fare is a cheaper and preferable mode of travel. Since then, several measures have been taken by Indian Railways to address the issue including cutting down the number of trains in which dynamic pricing was applicable. As of now, the scheme is prevalent in around 141 trains, the ministry said in its reply in Lok Sabha recently.