Rlys may impose additional charges

Rail passengers may have to pay additional charges owing to the recent hike in diesel prices.

Railways may soon impose surcharges or special fares. Railway sources said that it might be done in the forthcoming budget or just after.

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had assured at the time of announcing increase in passenger fare that there would not be any hike in the forthcoming budget. However, Railways officials indicate an increase in fare. It is to come in an indirect manner.

Railways is contemplating on levying surcharge on special trains and charging more on services like Tatkal.

“In fact, we had not anticipated the diesel price hike would impact that much.

According to our calculation we will have to pay Rs 3300 crore more for diesel in 2012-13. So, almost 50 per cent of the income from the increased passenger fare will be washed out,” said a source in the ministry.

Railways is to get Rs 6600 crores from the recent hike in fares. The oil companies hiked the diesel price by Rs 10. 80 per litre for bulk purchaser including Railways which spends around Rs 24,000 crores annually on fuel.

Officials said the ministry has almost finalised the structure of Rail Tariff Regulatory Authority. It would be a 3-4 member body headed by a chairman.

The mandate of the body is being worked out. The main idea behind it is to make decision on passenger fare free from political pressures. So, it’s recommendations may be made mandatory.

“We are yet to decide on this very issue,” said a source. After such an authority it would be easier to revise fares whenever fuel prices increase,” the source said.



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