New Delhi: Trinamool Congress member Derek O'Brien on Thursday dubbed as absurd former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi's argument that fares were being raised to enhance safety and said it appeared to be "gimmickry".

Participating in the debate in Rajya Sabha on the Rail Budget, he said instead of generating revenue for railway safety by hiking passenger fares, the Railways should focus on its freight business to earn more revenue.

O'Brien said increasing passenger fares in the name of improving rail safety was "absurd and the argument borders on gimmickry".

Expressing disagreement over the way rail budget was presented, he said the hike in rail fares would have impacted people in cities and villages who travel daily by train to reach their work places.

He said the Railways must start focusing on its freight business to earn revenues.

"Rs 4,000 crore for rail safety is a fair target but this should be achieved without upsetting passenger fare structure. Railways need to look at freight business," O'Brien said.

He said the Railways should target the transportation of foodgrains and cement in the country along with the 'roll on roll off' facility for trucks to expand business.

Under the 'roll on roll off' facility, trucks are allowed to travel on rail wagons and then get down to places not connected by road.

O'Brien said the Railways should look at innovative measures to generate revenue rather than increase fares for meeting its safety requirements.

He said the Railways is not just a commercial entity and it has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) also for which even private sector companies donate three to four per cent of their profits.