Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today ruled out any possibility of partial reduction of the proposed hike in train fares saying "there is no scope for roll back".
Cash-strapped Railways yesterday announced about 25% passenger fare hike for all classes to be effective from January 22.
"Where is the scope for considering it? There is no scope for roll back. It is a decision taken after considering all factors," Bansal said when asked about the possibility of partial reduction of the hike in the face of opposition from political parties.
"Railway system will collapse. We need funds for upgrading safety, augmentation of capacity and maintaining cleanliness at rail premises. Then it is not a huge increase also," he said.
To a question whether there will be any freight hike in near future, he indirectly ruled out the possibility saying, "We will not price ourself out from the market. Our effort is to increase the market share in freight which is currently 36% whereas in US it is 48%. We have to remain competitive in the market."
Asked about the percentage of passenger fare hike, he said, "It is difficult to say now."
However, a senior Railway Ministry official said, "On an average, the hike is ranging between 20% and 25% though in some segments hike is more than 30% and in some sectors it is less than 15% also."
Railways is expected to mop up about Rs 6,600 crore annually due to the hike in fare.
He said, "We are expecting to earn about Rs 6600 crore in a year keeping the the incremental traffic in mind. The earnings in the next two months in the current fiscal is expected to be about Rs 1,200 crore."