A short fall of 4.95% on revenue of Indian Railways

     New Delhi:  An over 4 per cent fall in passenger bookings between April and August, this year has left the Indian Railway worried and raising concerns about a possible rise in passenger subsidy.  

     A total of 3,427.84 million passengers travelled by trains during April and August as against 3,575.30 million during the corresponding period of the last year, a difference of 147.46 million, recording a fall of 4.12 per cent, according to the country's largest public transporters. Railways earned Rs19, 394.75crores during the period as against the target of Rs20, 204.85crore, a shortfall of 4.95 per cent. Sources said if the down slide is not  checked,  passenger  subsidy which hovers around Rs29, 000crore a year now, may go up further. Railway's passenger operations are heavily cross-subsidised from freight business and any further decline in passenger earnings is a matter of serious concern for the public transporters The railways run 13,000 passenger trains every day with a daily rider ship estimated at 23 million 

- one of the biggest in the world. However the pathetic sanitation and women safety issues are increasing along with this revenue rise. Railway authorities have been showing poor responsibility in providing basic facilities to passengers. One of the big reasons for the fall is that urban office-goers prefer to take alternative transport options to cover short distances.Alarmed at the decline, Chairman Railway Board (CRB) AK Mital has written to all zonal railways to  ascertain the reasons for it. An official said the fall has been witnessed mostly in short journey and unreserved segments and could be attributed to ticket-less travel. "The long distance journey has seen an increase in the reserved category," he said, adding "a concerted drive has been launched to curb ticket-less travel.

      According to the Railway Ministry data, the public transporters could spend only Rs17, 000crore of the quarterly planned expenditure against an allocation of more than Rs1lakh crores this fiscal.

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