New Delhi (NVI): The Ministry of Railways today issued a clarification on increased price charged for passengers trains and said slightly higher fares for short distance trains had been done only to discourage unnecessary travel.
In a official statement, the Railway Ministry said, “Recently there have been some reports in the section of media about higher price being charged from those travelling in passenger trains over small distances.”
We would like to inform that these slightly higher fares for passenger and other short distance trains had been introduced to discourage people from avoidable travels which are not most necessary, it added.
These fares are fixed at unreserved price of mail or express trains for the same distance.
The ministry also said that COVID-19 is still around and in fact worsening in some states, adding that, visitors from many states are being subjected to screening in other areas and discouraged to travel.
“Little higher price is be seen as proactive measure of Indian Railways to prevent crowding in trains and stop COVID-19 from spreading,” the statement read.
The ministry informed that it is constantly increasing the number of passenger carrying trains in a graded manner. Full restoration of regular services of passenger trains, to pre COVID-19 times, is to be considered keeping in view a range of factors and operational circumstances.
During challenging times of COVID-19, Indian Railways has operationalized almost 65 per cent of the mail or express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to the pre lockdown times.
Moreover, short distance passenger trains running presently constitute less than 3 percent of total trains. More such trains are in the pipeline in consultation with the state governments. Such short distance trains require interstate discussions and concurrence of all concerned, the statement noted.
A total 1,250 mail or express, 5,350 suburban services and more than 326 passenger trains are presently in operation average on a daily basis.
The Railway Ministry further stated that the health situation of states and the views of the state governments, also need to be taken in into account before getting into normal operations.
It added that passenger operations have always been subsidized by railways. Normally, Railways bears a loss on every journey by a passenger.
With a view to regulate rush at stations and in trains, passenger trains are being charged slightly more fare than pre-COVID times and a close watch is being kept on its patronisation.
The situation is being constantly monitored to ensure restoration of services in keeping with the protocols necessary to be followed during COVID-19 times, the ministry added.