New Delhi: Pawan Kumar Bansal promised to bring private investment to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore in the railways this year and said he aims at increasing the number of tatkal tickets as part of the Railway Budget 2013-14. Speaking to CNN-IBN, the Railway Minister defended his maiden budget terming it "realistic" and said he did whatever he can to satisfy the allies.
Key outside UPA allies the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party on Tuesday slammed the Rail Budget saying it was anti-poor and ignored areas of Uttar Pradesh which need rail infrastructure for economic development. "I have never seen such an anti-people budget in my political life...this is a budget for Congress...you can give new trains for Rae Bareli (Lok Sabha constituency of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi), but don't ignore Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal," SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Tuesday.
BSP president Mayawati expressed similar sentiments saying the Rail Budget was a "disappointment". "The poor and middle classes will not benefit much from it...fare has been hiked through backdoor," she said. The Railway Budget for 2013-14 on Tuesday spared passengers from any further hike in fares but raised various other charges on tickets along with freight tariff of less than five per cent.
Pawan told CNN-IBN that as trains were the most preferred mode of transport in India and people want more trains to run, it necessary to rationalise reservation charges. Though the Railway Minister did not propose any increase in basic rail fares in the Rail Budget, the hike in reservation fees and supplementary charges would mean an increase of Rs 5 to Rs 25 in fares for all classes in superfast trains. In the second class, while the reservation fee has been kept unchanged at Rs 15, the supplementary charges have been raised by Rs 5 to Rs 15.
For the sleeper class, reservation fee is untouched at Rs 20, but the supplementary charges is increased by Rs 10 to Rs 30. For AC first and executive class, reservation fee will be increased by Rs 25 to Rs 60, while the supplementary charge will go up by Rs 25 to Rs 75.
Similarly, tatkal charges will go up by up to Rs 100. In sleeper and AC Chair Car, tatkal charges is increased by Rs 25 and Rs 50 to Rs 175 and Rs 200 maximum, respectively. The same in AC-2 tier and executive will go up by Rs 100 to Rs 400.
Bansal also proposed raising the clerkage and the minimum cancellation charges by up to Rs 50. While in second and sleeper class, the cancellation charges will go up by Rs 10 and Rs 20 to Rs 30 and Rs 60 respectively, such charges in AC Chair Car, AC-3 economy, AC-3 Tier will be increased by Rs 30 to Rs 90. In AC first and executive class, the cancellation charges will increase by Rs 50 to Rs 120.
(With additional information from PTI)