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Railways mulling hike in passenger fares

New Delhi: Railways is exploring the possibility of increasing passenger fares to tide over its financial problems and improve safety-related infrastructure.

The move comes in the backdrop of persistent demands from the Planning Commission and railway unions for a revision in fares which have not been touched for over eight years now.

Recently a Parliamentary panel had suggested a hike in fares to offset the inflationary trend while CAG had stressed on rationalisation of fares to improve its finances.

"Nothing has been finalised yet and it is just a thinking," Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi told PTI.

Asked what would be the quantum of hike and the time by which it would be done, Trivedi said, "No decision has been taken to this effect."

Earlier, he had said, "It (revision of fares) would be thought of without affecting the general class which is used by poor people whose affordability has to be taken into consideration."

Sources said the hike could be linked with the fuel prices including diesel and electricity cost which accounts for close to 18 per cent of its annual expenditure.

The proposal to align the freight and passenger fare with market prices was, in fact, made by the Railway Minister at the full Planning Commission meeting last month which was presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He is believed to have proposed more dynamic freight and passenger fare aligned with market prices during the full Planning Commission meeting. .

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