The D K Mittal Committee, formed on December 4 this year to suggest ways and means to raise the revenue of Indian Railways, has made out a strong case for increasing the highly subsidised and loss-making suburban train fares.
 
According to the recommendation, the suburban fares need to be increased by 2 paise per km every two months till they reach a break-even point.
     
However, it did not specify the quantum of hike needed to be made in long-distance mail/express train services.
      
The committee yesterday submitted its report to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

The committee also said the minimum distance of travel in passenger train should be increased from existing 10km to 20km and in mail/express segment it should be increased from 50km to 100km.
      
Currently, even if a passenger travels less than 10 km he is charged for the 10km in a passenger train and 50km in mail/express trains.
      
The expert panel has observed that the current suburban fares is 60 per cent less than road travel cost and emphasised the need for increasing fares in a gradual manner.
 
The committee has also suggested that railway PSUs should be given the task to execute the rail projects. "The PSUs should be given a free hand to raise funds from the banks and after completion of the projects, they would be handed over to railways," said a senior Railway Ministry official who was privy to the report.

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