In a major turn of events, the newly appointed Union Railway minister has announced a rollback of the railway price hike.
Mukul Roy, the new minister for Railways from the Trinamool Congress, has completely withdrawn the fare hike for classes where it was earlier hiked – including sleeper, sub-urban, AC chair car and AC 3-tier.
The minister was quoted as saying that “The price hike will affect aam aadmi”. The decision has also re-inforced the power that Mamatha Bannerjee holds in the Central government led by the UPA.
It can be recalled that Dinesh Trivedi, the erstwhile Railway minister, on 14th of this month, while presenting his maiden Railway budget, had proposed a fare hike ranging from 2 paise to 30 paise per km. This hike has been nullified in most of the segments, with the rollback now.
Dinesh Trivedi had to resign from his post as the Union minister for Railways, after his party chief Mamatha Bannerjee alleged that she was not consulted before announcing the price hike. The party nominated Mukul Roy as the new candidate for the post of the Railway minister at the Centre.
It can also be recalled that the Railway Unions had threatened to go on a strike if the rollback of prices were announced. It would be wait and watch situation to see how things span out in the wake of these recent developments.
Earlier news – on Mar 14, 2012
Union Railway Minister has presented the Railway Budget for the year 2012-2013 in the Lok Sabha. He started his budget speech congratulating and thanking all his predecessors who have taken up the ministry of railways and bringing it to its current glory. He also thanked Dr. Kasturirangan and Kakodkar, who has submitted a report on High speed train safety.
New Passenger Trains introduced
75 New express trains have been introduced in the new budget. Completion of 45 new works of 700 kms will be taken up. 140 New line surveys to be taken up in the next year. A sum of Rs. 6872 crore has been allocated for the New line plan. 3390 crores will be allocated for doubling the lines.
As per the recommendations of the Kakodkar committee, an independent Rail safety authority will be setup to handle the safety related issues of the railways. A fund of 16,842 crores set up for rail safety.
Annual plan outlay for the railways in the year 2012-13 has been targeted at Rs. 60,100 crore.
Passenger fares were increased in the budget. Rs. 12 hike in the fares above 300 kms. 5 paise per km increased for the Sleeper class. 10 paise for the AC 3 tier, 15 paise for AC 2 tier and 30 paise increased for the AC 1 class travel. However with the latest rollback announced by Mukul Roy, fare hikes in classes of second class, sleeper, AC 3 tier and AC chair car classes, will be nullified.
Suburban fares have been increased by 2 paise per km.
Proposal to recruit 1 lakh people.
Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla line to be electrified. 828 crores allocated for electrification. 1100 route kms to be electrified.
Mumbail Railway Vikas Corporation – with MUTP phase 2 to be completed in the next year. 72 km line between Panvel Virar to be taken up. Navi Mumbai related connectivity has been given.
Indian Railways Station Development Corporation setup in line with airport development authority. It will operate in the PPP mode for upgrading the existing railway stations.
The railways plans for 19000 kms of railway line to be modernized. Signalling systems to be modernized.
Rs. 39100 crore estimated for signalling & other modernization including upgradation.
The minister told that railways will procure new generation locomotives. Introduce new wagons of higher capacity. New auto car wagons introduced.
Minister insisted that a sum of Rs 2.50 lakh crore investment be made from the Union Government. He insisted that the projects taken up by the railways, will not be possible to be completed in a time-bound manner, if the government does not support railways by funding it. He indicated that based on the recommendations given by the committees headed by Sam Pitroda and Kakodkar, a sum of Rs 14 lakh crore is required for next 10 years.