New Delhi: Despite the operational cost of Railways getting doubled over the last decade, the passenger fare has remained untouched for the last 8 years, thanks to the trend set by former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Incumbent Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi too is of view that the passenger fare could be increased only to a rationale level and the public sector behemoth would have to find alternate sources of augmenting its revenue.

Trivedi was speaking at a conference of Business Editors. “The increased passenger fare will not boost the revenue as only 26 percent of Railway’s revenue comes from passenger fare. Out of which, 50 percent revenue comes from its operation in suburban areas, while long route train service contributes only 7 percent to the revenue,” Trivedi said.

“For raising revenue, we have to focus on other areas rather than increasing passenger fares, as it has several social and strategic compulsions. Railway stations have great potential for generating revenue,” the minister opined.

Railway Minister advocated for setting up a Station Authority, under which stations will be given modern look in line with airports.

“The entire exercise will provide enormous employment opportunities. The Railway is holding discussion with state governments to extend its network,” said the Trinamool Congress leader.
 Significantly, most of the Railway projects are running at a loss except 14 projects. The Railways has to invest Rs 57, 000 crore in current fiscal under several running projects, while the ministry needs investment worth Rs 7.25 lakh crore during the 12th Five Year Plan.

After the completion of Delhi Mumbai Freight Corridor, the Railway is pondering over constructing new passenger corridor as well. In addition, the ministry is eyeing on commissioning high speed corridor for which, the ministry will constitute a High Speed Corridor Authority.

JPN/Bureau