The Telegraph
Saturday , May 17 , 2014
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Rail flip-flop on fare


New Delhi, May 16: Indian Railways did a flip-flop today by announcing a hike in passenger fares and freight rates but withdrawing it a few hours later.

“The railway minister has asked the fare hike to be kept in abeyance. He said let the new government take a call on this issue,” D.P. Pande, member (traffic) of the Railway Board, told The Telegraph.

The railways today announced a hike in passenger fares by 14.2 per cent and freight rates by 6.5 per cent, effective from May 20.

Officials said they had prepared a note on an increase in fares before the elections because of a rise in cost.

However, they had to keep the decision in abeyance because of the model code of conduct.

The member traffic has the power to announce a hike in fares and did so after the election code came to an end. However, he was later advised by Rail Board chairman Arunendra Kumar and railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge that the decision should be left to the new government.

As directed by “minister of railways Mallikarjun Kharge, the decision on the proposed hike in the freight charges and passenger fares have been kept pending till further advice for placing this proposal before the new government for taking a view/decision in the matter. This means that there shall be no revision/hike in freight rates and passenger fares from May 20”, an official statement said.

The hike would have put an additional burden on passengers and made goods transportation costlier. According to the proposal, the basic fare was to go up by 10 per cent for all classes along with an additional levy of 4.2 per cent as fuel adjustment component.

However, no change was proposed in reservation fee and superfast surcharge.