Rail Budget: Steps taken in interest of genuine passengers, says Pawan Kumar Bansal

Pawan Kumar Bansal

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal ruled out roll back of the proposed hike in reservation charges in superfast trains.

"The proposed hike will be applicable on only three per cent of total tickets booked in trains and I have taken the steps in the interest of genuine passengers and to deter the touts", Bansal said. Bansal has proposed supplementary charges for super fast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and Tatkal fee in his maiden rail budget.

The FAC, which is being introduced on freight tariff from April one, would alone fetch an additional revenue of Rs 4,200 crore, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters after presenting the 2013-14 rail budget in Parliament.

The supplementary charges, to be levied on super-fast trains, include hikes in supplementary charges for these trains, reservation fee, clerkage charges, cancellation charges and tatkal charges, would together increase the

revenue earnings by Rs 483 crore, he said.

A Cabinet note, to establish an independent Rail Tariff Authority to suggest revision in passenger fares and freight tariff, has been prepared by the Railway Ministry for

inter-ministerial consultations.

"The Cabinet will take it up as soon as these consultations are over," Bansal said.

Justifying the hike in these charges, he said the move was aimed deterring touts and travel agents from booking bulk tickets, thereby depriving genuine passengers. "This would result in improvement in the system.... There are no hidden charges. Nothing can be hidden."

However, the total outgo of the Railways, primarily due to increase in diesel prices and electricity tariff, would be more than Rs 5,100 crore, he said.

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