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Feb 26, 2013, 04.11 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Railway Budget 2013: No hike in passenger fares; freight revenues eyed

With an eye on elections, Railway Minister PK Bansal was forced to keep passenger fares unchanged despite railways suffering huge losses.

Moneycontrol Bureau

With an eye on elections, Railway Minister PK Bansal was forced to keep passenger fares unchanged despite the Indian Railways currently undergoing a loss of Rs 22,500 crore. This will come as a surprise to many because Bansal had recently hinted at hiking passenger fares.

"Since passenger fares were revised only in January this year, I do not intend to pass on the additional burden to them now and railways will absorb the impact of Rs 850 crore on this account ," Bansal said.

However, marginal increase in supplementary charge for superfast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal charge has been proposed. In order to simplify the fee structure, the concept of enhanced reservation fee has been abolished.

Passenger traffic is expected to witness growth of 5.2 percent in 2013-14.

In a bid to offset the impact of recent diesel price hike on railway’s revenues, a dynamic fuel adjustment component will be introduced on freight rates from April 1, which will result in less than five per cent increase in rates.

Bansal expects freight earnings to grow by 9 percent to Rs 93,554 crore.

Indian Railways will borrow Rs 15,103 crore from markets for the financial year 2013-14. The deregulation of diesel prices and hike in electricity tariff is likely to result in a burden of Rs 5,100 crore in 2013-14, he added.

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