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After the Rail Budget hiked reservation fees for superfast trains, the Chairman of Railway Board today sought to downplay it as well as the supplementary charges, saying these trains constitute only 30 per cent of the total passenger services in the country.
"There is no charge on the sleeper-class and unreserved class passengers who constitute 90 per cent of the total commuters except when they travel by superfast trains, which constitute 30 per cent of the total passenger trains," Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal said.
He said this when his attention was drawn to the hike in today's Rail Budget on reservation free and supplementary charges and what would be its impact on passengers.
At the post-Rail Budget briefing, he noted that the Railways kept the base fare untouched as "we did not want any additional burden to come on the passengers at this point of time".
Though Railways had effected an across-the-board hike on passenger fares only last month, there was speculation of a further hike in today's Rail Budget as the fuel price hike which followed, ate into the planned additional revenue.
About linking the Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC) to freight tariff, he said it was necessary to avert the loss which would have otherwise gone from Railway coffers.
"FAC is going to neutralise the additional expenditure that Railway is going to incur on the fuel cost. It is not going to be an additional earning to the kitty," he said.
Mittal though underlined that if there is a reduction in the fuel charges, "the fare component will ensure that the fare moves down and if there is an increase, we have to take a call. We have said we would be reviewing it every six months."
The hike in reservation fees and supplementary charges will add to an increase of Rs 5 to Rs 25 in fares for all classes in superfast trains.
The impact on the freight tariff as a result will be 4.5 to 4.6 per cent, he said.