NEW DELHI: The railways on Sunday issued an advisory suspending all passenger operations till March 31 in a bid to restrict the spread of novel coronavirus. The move, according to estimates, is likely to cost the national transporter in excess Rs 5,000 crore.The railways’ daily earning is around `450 crore, of which passenger earnings are around Rs 100 crore. The national transporter earns `300 crore from freight operations and Rs 50 crore from other services like parcels, mail, etc on a daily basis.
“With all train operations shutting down, the railways will practically have no passenger earning. Even if we take conservative estimates, they are likely to incur a loss of Rs 5,000 crore in the next 10 days,” director of the Asian Institute of Transport Development PK Sarkar said.According to a railway official, the move to suspend all passenger operations was the need of the hour. “It was important that the step was taken. The largest inter-state migration happens through the railways.
We are aware that people are not able to go to their hometowns but if this step had not been taken, the spread of the virus would be much more. We request people to bear with us for the time being,” he said.
Sarkar, on the other hand, is of the opinion that by offering cancellation fees, the national transporter is likely to lose another `750 crore. “Cancellation fees are great revenue earning for the national transporter.
The railway board said last year that it made close to `5000 crore through cancellation of confirmed tickets. By levying off the fee for all tickets from March 21 to June 21, it will lose at least `750 crore.”Another area where the national transporter is set to lose close to `150 crore is due to the decrease in the sale of platform tickets. “As there are no trains, people will not come to the station and the revenue drop due to platform ticket sales is going to be sharp,” Sarkar said.