No immediate hike in fare: Railway Minister

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2012 Published on January 13, 2012

While ruling out any immediate rail fare hike for passengers, the Railway Minister, Mr Dinesh Trivedi, on Thursday said that there is a need to delink railways from politics.

Indian Railways, which is in a financial crunch, has been under constant pressure from the Finance Ministry to increase passenger fares. On passenger fares, the Minister reiterated a position taken by his predecessor, and party head, Ms Mamata Banerjee, “Raising fares is not the solution (to raise funds). We have to think of the poor.”

Even as he took the political line, Mr Trivedi stated that there is a need to delink Railways from politics.

“It is important...whether in matters of transfer, providing stoppages at stations, for new lines. All MPs...(have their wish list). I don't criticise that because they have to think about the people, but we should understand we have to give Railways a professional model,” he said.

He also said there has to be a continuity in railway policies and programmes irrespective of the political leadership. “Problem is when the Railway Minister changes, system changes. We have to maintain the continuity and ensure consistency for the overall interest of the Railways,” he added.

Mr Trivedi stressed the need for a complete overhaul of the railway infrastructure and rebuilding the system with modern technology to ensure high level of safety.

The Minister felt a good business model is a prime requirement for the Railways at present to attract funds. A sound political will was also required to rebuild the entire network that is saddled with obsolete technology and is dependent too much on human intervention, he said.

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Published on January 13, 2012
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