Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi today ruled out a hike in train fares, saying a move to that effect was not a solution for improving the fiscal health of the country's largest public transporter. "Raising fares is not the solution (to raise funds). We have to think of the poor," he told reporters when asked if a hike in rail fares was on the cards.
Trivedi also stressed the need for a complete overhaul of the railway infrastructure and rebuilding the system with modern technology to ensure high level of safety. His comment comes in the backdrop of the public transporter being affected by recurring accidents and acute financial crisis, forcing it to put several projects on hold.
The Minister felt a good business model is a prime requirement for the Railways at present to attract funds. A sound political will was also required to rebuild the entire network that is saddled with obsolete technology and is dependent too much on human intervention, he said.
"Unless we rebuild the entire railway system like we have rebuild the aviation...we need technological intervention which is absolutely urgent," he said.
Trivedi also said the Indian Railways should be delinked from political interventions so as to give them a professional outlook and allow the public transporter to move to the next generation.
Noting that the Railways should be delinked from politics, he said, "It is important...whether in matters of transfer, providing stoppages at stations, for new lines. All MPs...(have their wish list). I don't criticise that because they have to think about the people, but we should understand we have to give Railways a professional model."
Trivedi also felt that there has to be a continuity in railway policies and programmes irrespective of who is the minister.
"Problem is when the Railway Minister changes, system changes. We have to maintain the continuity and ensure consistency for the overall interest of the Railways," he added.
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Updated Date: Jan 13, 2012 20:05:01 IST