New Delhi: A proposal to constitute a Rail Tariff Authority (RTA), which was apparently in cold storage during the tenure of Mukul Roy as railway minister, is being revived after the exit of Trinmool Congress from UPA government.
Rail Tariff Authority (RTA), which will suggest the level of passenger fares and freight rates, was first proposed in the rail Budget 2012-13 presented by Dinesh Trivedi before he was forced out as railway minister by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
“We have decided to constitute Rail Tariff Authority, a separate body, for suggesting the level of tariff for both freight and passenger fares,” Railway Minister CP Joshi said at the Economic Editors’ meet in New Delhi today.
However, he said, the authority would take a while to be consituted because it is still in initial stage and is being deliberated threadbare before it is placed before the Cabinet.
The constitution and composition and its terms and references are still being discussed, he said to a question.
Refusing to divulge further, he said the views of all stakeholders will be taken into account in formation of the committee.
Giving details about the RTA, chairman, Railway Board, Vinay Mittal said, “The cost of running trains is becoming higher and the aim is to insulate us from various hikes like fuel hike and eliminate uncertainities in tariff formulation.”
Referring to Kakodkar committee on safety and Pitroda committee on modernisation of railways, Joshi said, “Reports of both these committees are being actively deliberated on.”
Joshi said “top prioity” would be given to safety and passenger amenities. “I am in consultation with my colleagues in the railway ministry and aware of the constraints and expectations of people. We will try to strike a balance between the two.”
He said one of the biggest hazards to safety are the unmanned railway crossing. “Our long-term goal is to man unmanned level crossings. At present, we are exploring various measures to address the issue.”
There are about 14,896 unmanned level crossings across the country and maximum number of accidents take place at these crossings.
On high speed rail corridors, Joshi said, “The work on these corridors is to be accelerated.”
Railways have identified seven high-speed rail corridors. While pre-feasibility study of Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar route and Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Jodhpur route are to be taken up soon, study of other five routes, including Delhi-Lucknow-Patna route, Howrah-Haldia route, Hyderabad-Chennai route and Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad route, are complete.
He also emphasised the importance of the Dedicated Freight Corridor and said regular monitoring of the project is on.