With the Railway budget due on February 26, Union Minister Pawan Bansal seems to be keeping everyone guessing whether a fare hike is likely.
Everyone would have to wait until the budget has been presented, Bansal told reporters in Chandigarh. “I have not said anything so far. Whether there will be further hike or not. Let the budget be presented then you will come to know about it.”
The Railways Minister did not categorically deny there would not be a further hike in train fares, but it has set off speculation that fare of premium trains may be raised for more revenues.
After the last month rail hike, the ministry was set to earn `6,600 crore as additional revenue. However, a diesel hike, soon after, meant that railways will lose `2,700 crore.
The budget is going to be Bansal’s first and UPA government’s last budget ahead of the elections in 2014.
There will be a lot of pressure on Bansal to initiate reforms, kick-start more people friendly facilities and present a populist budget.