New Delhi: On Wednesday, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced that train fares will be hiked with effect from January 21 midnight. He said that it is being done only to assist train passengers and give them improved facilities.
He said that there will be no fare increase when the annual rail budget is presented in February. The minister said that since there have been no alteration in the fare from a decade, therefore the rise will be imposed. He added that the hike will be a modest and a reasonable hike.
"People also must understand this. We seek there cooperation since there is no increase in passenger fare for last 12 years. Though any increase in fare will pinch, it is obviously, but then we have to be realist in our approach. That is what I appeal to the people," said Bansal. "People are ready to pay. After all we have to modernize the railways," he added.
According to the minister, the Railways is in need of funds for elementary things - for upgrading signaling system to facilitate running of trains through fog, installation of anti-collision devices to bio toilets in coaches and at stations as part of ensuring better hygiene.
Last year, when the then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi tried to implement hike on train fares, he was largely opposed by Mamata Banerjee, who at last, had him dismissed after great debates.