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India to hike rail fares for first time in decade

Published on Jan 9, 2013 9:01 PM
Passengers travel on a crowded train in Mumbai. India's railway minister announced on Jan 9 that the government would hike passenger fares this month for the first time in a decade to fund improvements in safety on the overburdened rail system. -- PHOTO:AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India announced its first across-the-board rise in rail fares for a decade on Wednesday to fund improvements in safety on the overburdened network.

The proposed increase across various tiers of the national rail system come 10 months after an earlier plan to raise fares had to be scrapped following fierce opposition from a then partner in the Congress-led coalition government.

Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said he expected annual losses in 2012-2013 to climb to 250 billion rupees (S$5.6 million), adding: "This in fact points to the imperative of... a reasonable fare hike immediately."

"We, after all the deliberations, careful consideration of all the issues, have decided to effect an increase in the fare... with effect from 21st of this month," Mr Bansal told reporters.

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