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Railway Travelling charges down: mail, express, AC fares by 2%

NEW DELHI: Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who managed to keep passengers fares in check for the last five years, on Friday presented interim Railway budjet.


Departing from normal practice, Lalu Prasad announced an across-the-board 2% cut in fares of ordinary and AC class.
The interim budget makes no changes in relation to freight rates.

Normally, the interim budgets do not carry any financial proposals in view of the fact that it is a vote-on-account ahead of the general elections.

Recalling that he had decided to reduce the second class fares of all mail, express and ordinary trains by 5% for tickets above Rs 50 last year, Prasad said respecting the aspirations of the long distance passengers he has decided to reduce the second class and sleeper class fares of all mail and express and ordinary passenger trains by two per cent for the ticket costing more than Rs 50.

He said during the last four years, he had reduced the fares of AC First class by 28% and AC II tier by 20%.
Even as air travel is reportedly reflecting reduction in number of passengers due to economic slowdown, there has been a significant increase in the number of passengers of these classes on the Railways.

"Therefore, I have decided to reduce the fares of AC First Class, AC II tier and AC III tier and AC Chair Car by 2%," he said amidst thumping of desks by members of ruling benches in Lok Sabha.

The Minister said since the fare for rail travel for 10 km and below has already been reduced from Rs 4 to Rs 1, this reduction will not be applicable for second class rail journey upto 10 km.

Highlights

-All AC and Mail Express fares cut by 2%

- Freight rates kept unchanged

-Freight has grown at the rate of 8% in the past five years. Freight loading in the current year has come down due to economic downturn, because of which revenue has fallen. Otherwise it would have touched Rs one lakh crore.

- 43 new trains to start in 2009-10, extension of 14 trains envisaged and frequency of 14 trains to be increased.

- Kolkata Metro will be expanded

-Railways cash reserves touched Rs 90, 000 crore

-Railways have raised $100 million at 4% interest

- Railways expected to show a surplus of Rs 18,847 crore in the next fiscal.

-Feasibility study underway for bullet trains between Delhi-Amritsar, Ahmedabad-Pune, Hyderabad-Vijaywada- Chennai, Chennai-Bangalore, Delhi-Patna, Kolkata-Haldia and Ernakulam-Howrah.

-Dedicated freight corridor from Ludhiana to Kolkata to be inaugurated later this month

- Railway line between Anantnag and Rajwansher in Kashmir valley will be extended to Qazigund in four months

-4 call centres set up for railway enquiry

-Invested Rs 70, 000 crore out of surplus in last four years

-To invest Rs 2, 30,000 crore in the 11th Plan

-Decrease in the number of accidents in Railways since 2003

-Passenger volume likely to grow by around 7% over previous year

- Estimated freight earnings for next fiscal pegged at Rs 59,059 crore

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