Indian railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced a hike in rail fares on January 9, 2013. The hike in the fare will be effective from midnight on January 21, 2013. Bansal said while addressing a press conference that now since the railway fares have now been hiked, the government will not increase the tariff in the budget.
The recent hike is the first fare hike in ten years. According to the new fares, 2 paise-per-kilometer has been increased in the second class ordinary urban tariffs. Fares for second class non-suburban travel has gone up by 3 paise-per-kilometer and even the sleeper class has been hiked by 6 paise-per-kilometer. The passengers travelling in the air-conditioned chair car and sleeper class will now have to pay an extra 10 paise-per-kilometer.
Bansal, while supporting the hike said, “Input costs have increased immensely while rail fares have remained stagnant. In fact there was a decrease in lower class fares. Given (the) economic slowdown, we have not been able to so far achieve this year’s targets in either freight or fare side.”
The railway minister also said that the hike was essential, but did not comment on anything regarding the freight tariff hike. On the other hand, a BJP spokesperson while reacting on the news slammed the government on the hike.