Letters to the editor

By: | Published: June 29, 2016 6:17 AM

Apropos of the startling report “Railways likely to lose more passengers if airfare capped” (FE, June 28), the government’s move to cap air-fares to tier-II and tier-III cities at R2,500 (under its ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme) is likely to further erode the market-share...

Railways suffering
Apropos of the startling report “Railways likely to lose more passengers if airfare capped” (FE, June 28), the government’s move to cap air-fares to tier-II and tier-III cities at R2,500 (under its ambitious Regional Connectivity Scheme) is likely to further erode the market-share of the railways in passenger traffic given the relatively small difference between premium rail-fares and what airlines would charge to cover the same distance. Some segments of passengers may shift from Railways to airlines (with the capping of air-fare) as journey by air is generally perceived to be more hassle-free and time-saving. In any case, it is highly disappointing to learn that the Indian Railways which is struggling hard to rake in enough revenue for its survival has already witnessed a decline in passenger bookings, from 839 crore in FY14 to 818 crore in FY16—with the number of passengers traveling in the AC first-class also falling by 4.1% since FY14. But the aviation sector, on the other hand, has experienced a 20.34% annual growth in the passenger traffic in 2015 and the domestic passenger traffic witnessed a growth of 21% in April over the same month in 2015. While this must have come as music to the ears of the civil aviation ministry but its success-story must have caused some ripples in the railways ministry and Suresh Prabhu must be a worried man today. The fact remains that the government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) will be able to achieve greater heights only at the expense of the extremely hard-pressed Railways which has desperately been trying to refurbish its near-empty coffers through various out-of-the-box ideas of its head, Suresh Prabhu. Incidentally, his ministry has reportedly been ranked the first amongst all the ministries in this government. However, one fails to see any rationale behind the government’s continued persistence with the top priority to the introduction of bullet trains on some selected rail even at a time when the Railways is far behind its other plans. Can’t there be serious rethinking by on
the matter?
S Kumar, Delhi

Brexit is good

Apropos of the extensive coverage of the UK voting to leave the European Union in your paper, the Britishers voting with their feet to exit from Union is neither a surprise nor a shocker. In light of some disturbing developments witnessed in the recent past—that are believed to have had a destabilising, and at times, cascading, effect on the economies of the world—it is just the right thing that Great Britain has opted out of the Union. This might even inspire other members of the Union to follow suit, sooner than later. The EEC,when it was conceived decades before, had a context and purpose vastly different from what the Union is now. National interest should always be paramount. Brexit will be a guiding force to the world in these trying times.
Srinivasan Umashankar, Nagpur

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