While the falling revenue collection and increasing demand for funding various capacity augmentation projects as well as the requirement for improving passenger services demand hiking up fares, a section in Railway Ministry does not favour any such move, saying that an increase at this juncture will not be a very good idea as elections are around the corner in four states and diesel price is on the downslide.

Besides, Prabhu will also have to take call on whether to impose safety cess for strengthening safety measures to prevent accidents.

However, railways have already decided to run as many special trains on higher fares in popular routes catering to the growing demand during festive season, an indirect way of hiking fares.

Upgradation of existing coaches with modern facilities and improved interiors are being planned in a big way to run trains on higher fares like the recently launched Mahamana Express between New Delhi and Varanasi.

The cross-subsidy from freight to passenger operation has crossed Rs 30,000 crore this year while the Seventh Pay Commission burden is about Rs 32,000 crore. Railways have earned Rs 136,079.26 crore as against the target of Rs 141,416.05 crore during April-January period, a decline of 3.77 percent.

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