Railways was getting into ICU, I have pulled it out, says Trivedi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

The Railway Minister, Mr Dinesh Trivedi, with the Minister of State, Mr Bharatsinh Solanki, addressing the media after presenting the Railway Budget in the Capital on Wednesday. — R.V. Moorthy

Amidst heavy demand of roll back, the Railway Minister, Mr Dinesh Trivedi, has claimed that he has brought back the Railway from the ICU. He also clarified that his party Trianmool supremo Ms Mamata Banerjee had no role in the making of the Budget. Here are the excerpts from the post-Rail Budget press conference of Mr Trivedi.

Did Mamata Banerjee know about the hike?

She was not aware about the fare hike. It was my decision as Railway Minister. She does not intervene in the working of the Ministry. It is a very big misconception that the Railways is run from Writers' Building (headquarters of West Bengal Government). She (Banerjee) did not know anything at all and there was no interference by her in any aspect of the Budget.

On overall Rail Budget

The Railways was getting into intensive care unit (ICU). I have pulled it out and made it healthy.

On possibility of rolling back the fare hike

Considering the problems of aam admi, the rail fare has not been hiked steeply. I have done my duty and if you want to roll it back, do it. If you do not want safety, then let the passenger travel free….. Whole philosophy was to keep it minimum. The fare had not been increased for the last eight years. Rail travel is cheaper than road, so more and more people are coming on trains. Had this trend continued without improving facilities, then trains will stop (running).

Likely revenue from fare hike

We expect Rs 4,000 crore from the fare hike. It must be mentioned that with the rounding of fare to the next nearest Rs 5, the passenger will have to pay less on some routes and more on some.

On support from the Finance Ministry

I asked for a gross budgetary support of Rs 45,000 crore but got only Rs 24,000 crore.

Out of this Rs 24,000 crore, Rs 4,000 crore will go for national projects… In other countries, railway gets full grant from the Government but here it is not the situation.

On Fuel Adjustment Component

This will be like what the airlines do. Increase in fuel prices will raise the charge and reduction will bring it down.

However, this concept is being contemplated. This concept will be on auto pilot mode. (He ducked the question about the date of implementation.)

On public-private partnership for developing stations as world class

The Railways have the biggest asset in form of railway stations.

With the setting up of Indian Railway Station Development Corporation, private sector can form a joint venture and make any station world class.

Though these stations will be developed on the pattern of airports, no user development fee (UDF) will be levied.

> Shishir.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 14, 2012

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