Railway budget: new trains, services, fare hike likely
New Delhi: Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday is all set to announce a slew of passenger-friendly measures in his maiden rail budget. It is to be seen whether he yields to pressure of hiking passenger fares yet again or looks at other measures to mobilise resources to offset the burden of the recent diesel price hike.
Bansal had on January 22 hiked passenger fares across-the-board after the Railways faced a loss of about Rs. 25,000 crore in the passenger segment.
Railways had aimed to mop up an additional revenue of Rs 6,600 crore but the fuel hike had wiped out Rs 3,300 crore, Bansal had said.
The rail minister held several round of discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister P Chidambaram and the Planning Commission in connection with the Rail Budget. He is also understood have discussed the possibility of fare hike with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. However, sources said a section of the Congress is not inclined towards effecting another round of fare hike as general elections are not far away.
Bansal is all set to announce a slew of passenger-friendly measures such as improvement in catering service, maintaining cleanliness at rail premises, introducing Braille stickers in coaches for visually-challenged passengers and development of stations in his maiden Rail Budget.