"The improvement in services will have to be commensurate with the increase in fare," he said after assuming charge at Rail Bhawan here. At present, the railways are facing financial crunch and funds earmarked for many of the ongoing projects are being curtailed. Justifying the need for such a step, the Railway Minister said, "We have to ensure that the vast infrastructure of the railways does not collapse and stop functioning... So we have to increase fares and assure the public that if there will be any hike, the public will also appreciate it because we are going to improve the services."
However, he did not go into the nitty-gritty of a possible passenger fare hike. "I have just assumed charge...I will discuss the issue threadbare." The new Minister of State for Railways Adheer Kumar Choudhury, who also assumed charge, favoured a hike in passenger fares. "Prices have increased in every area...so why not in the railways. Common people will not oppose it (fare hike) if services will be proper," said the West Bengal Congress leader and a known critic of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
Choudhury said, "Rail services have fallen in the last few years. There are increasing number of complaints with regard to the services. Safety and security is a big concern for the railways and I think these areas need attention."