Congress bows to Mamata Banerjee again, Dinesh Trivedi to go - TOI (#1)
After nine years of freeze, two committee reports a hike in ticket rates were expected in this year. During this time sixth pay commissions recommendations were implemented, fuel rates touched new heights, cost increased for acquiring land for new tracks or for doubling the existing ones so on and so forth. Excluding a couple of years when Lalu Prasad Yadav was at helm, Railway doesn’t have much to show in terms of finance.
Commissions like Sam Petroda and Kakodkar are asking more outlays - in terms of thousands of crores- for safety, modernization etc. It is almost impossible for Central Government - which is already selling her priced family silver to fill the gigantic gap between income and expenditure - to invest more on Railways.
There is limit to milk the freight division further, if you milk it more blood will come out. In any way the hike in freight rate will eventually transfer to the common man in the form of increasing commodity prices.
It’s not that, to show a good financial condition in paper railway should always increase the rates. But there are times when we have to realise the facts and make meaningful judgements. Over populism will only ruin the institution. If we are freezing the ticket rates, from where the money will come for investing in new projects like laying new tracks, increasing the connectivity between the ports and industrial hubs, paying the increasing salary and pensions, replacing the old tracks and bridges, building new fast but expensive High Speed Rail (HRL) for faster passenger and commodity traffic?
It is in this situation ministry hiked the ticket rates,
"During his budget speech in the Lok Sabha Wednesday, Trivedi had said: "I am asking an extra two paise per km on suburban and ordinary second class. Similarly, an increase of three paise per km for mail and express trains.
If Trivedi is resigning from the cabinet, then for increasing the tax rate financial minister should be resigned. If anyone killed in a terrorist attack Home Minister should be resigned. If somebody killed a tiger then environment minister should be resigned so on and so forth. What about Sports Minister, for every loss India teams suffered in home and abroad he needs to resign.
"For sleeper class, I am asking only 5 paise (increase) and for AC chair car and III tier, only 10 paise per km, and for AC II tier 15 paise per km and AC I class by 30 paise per km."
Accordingly, over a 100-km run, the fares will go up by Rs.2 on suburban and ordinary II class trains, Rs.5 for sleeper class, Rs.10 for AC chair car and III tier, Rs.15 for AC II tier and Rs.30 for AC first class." (#2)
We had so many other situations where it was necessary to sack the minister, but nothing happened. We also had many ministers who took the moral responsibility for events coming under their ministry and resigned even if they are not responsible for it.
If Railway minister is getting sacked only for raising the passenger rates, that too after an interval of more than nine years, it is not acceptable. You can sack ministers for ‘n’ number of other reasons like poor performance, corruption, partiality, integrity issues etc but not for a reasonable increase in ticket rates. It will be better for Trinamool Congress to think twice before asking the minister to resign.
It required much more than taking a decision to increase the rates to save and modernize the Railways. If the minister is not even allowed to take the first step then...
1. Congress bows to Mamata Banerjee again, Dinesh Trivedi to go
2. Dinesh Trivedi's rail fare hike reasonable, say economists - Economic Times