Delhiites give mixed reaction to hike in rail fares

Indian railways
New Delhi, Mar 14: Delhiites on Wednesday gave out mixed reaction to the proposed hike in rail fares with some arguing that it would burn a hole in their pocket, while few saying they do not mind spending extra money if the services in Indian Railways become better.

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi seemed to have earned the confidence of middle-class travellers with his promise of an airport-like pattern for the fourth largest railway network in the world.

"I would not mind paying extra for my travel provided I get guaranteed safety and hygiene. But it also depends on how well these policies will be implemented," 23-year-old Anubhuti Sharma, a JNU student and regular traveller, said.

Subhadra Kamath, a social work professional, echoes Sharma's views and said the fare hike does not make much of a difference.

However, Ashok Varghese, a student, says the fare hike would scuttle his regular visits to his home town of Thiruvananthapuram.

"With my limited pocket money, it's going to be more difficult to go to Trivandrum during holidays. I'll either have to cut down on my trips home, or go by a lower class," he says.

In a bid to revamp the Railways, Trivedi has promised logistic solutions to passengers, hygiene maintenance and house-keeping staff at stations, better sanitation by including 2,500 coaches to be equipped with bio-toilets next year and 75 new express passenger trains to be introduced soon among other services.

26-year-old Ujwal Kumar says it is a good move because for eight years Railways' had not raised its tariff.

"On the contrary, fuel prices have been constantly rising. The fare hike is reasonable and justified," he said.

Student and political analyst from JNU, Anirban does not agree with them. He says the idea of hike should be welcome only at the cost of more efficiency.

"Even after getting a setback in assembly elections, the UPA-led government has nothing to offer. There have been serious security lapses and accidents in the recent past, and now this fare hike? The common people will not accept it," he said.

Delhi-based businessman Rajesh Mittal has a different tale to tell.

"Our annual trip to Shirdi will now cost Rs 200 more per ticket. The fare hike was long over due, but I will surely have to reconsider," he said.

Seema Mohan, who works as a domestic help, says, "I had just started buying fresh vegetables...Now it seems prices of vegetables will again go up."


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