Govt hints Railways fare hike coming

Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday hinted at hike in fares saying that without it, it would be difficult to run railways.

"Hiking fare is not our target. Our target is to ensure safe journey and good services to passengers. We are working out where and what to do. It's obvious that at some point of the time, we have to take the step (of hiking fare) as without it, it will be difficult to run the railways", Bansal told reporters in reply to a question.

"Whenever people meet me, they say hike fare but improve services", he said.

Asked whether a hike in fare would be effected from March next year, the minister said nothing could be said at this point of time and any decision would be taken only after discussions.

Bansal had hinited at a fare hike on on October 28, the day he had assumed charge of Railway Ministry after the cabinet reshuffle.

About his MoS Adhir Ranjan Chauhary criticising "jobs- against-land" policy followed in Sonia Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency where jobs were given to 1400 persons whose land were acquired for the rail coach factory project, Bansal said there was no such policy.

"It depends on case to case. The minister might be talking about West Bengal. But in this case, jobs are given as we are in a position to do so. In Jammu and Kashmir, lands were given for land", Bansal said.

He said if in the land acquisition Bill, to be presented in Parliament, there would be a policy to provide jobs for land acquired, Railways would plan out accordingly.

About his priority, the Railways Minister said ensuring safety of passengers was his utmost priority.

"We are ensuring that there is less number of collisions for which overbridge would be constructed with states' help.

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