Railway may hike upper class fares

New Delhi: After the recent hike in freight rates by six per cent, upper class train journey may also become costly with the Railways finalising plan to rationalise passenger fares to tide over its financial problems.

“We are trying to see how can we do some rationalisation of passenger fares…That process is on,” Railway Finance Commissioner Pompa Babbar told PTI. However, Babbar hastened to add, “We are trying to see how not to burden the poor people and how not going for massive hike, perhaps something here and there.”

Asked whether the proposed hike has to wait for the coming Rail Budget or it may take place even before that, she said, “It is possible anytime.” Pressed further on the issue, she said, “When we withdraw money from the consolidated fund of India, we need to go to Parliament for withdrawal of the fund. But for passenger hike, we need not go to Parliament. We do not need any approval for fare hike from Parliament.”

The Railways` move comes against the backdrop of suggestions from the Planning Commission that a revision has not been touched for over eight years now. To a question as how economically viable for Railways is not to raise fares for so many years, she said, “Every organisation has a system of cross-subsidisation. But only taking passenger side, it will be taking a lopsided view of railway working.”