Odisha News Insight

Railway Budget: Suresh Prabhu sharply hikes Freight Rates

Suresh Prabhu Railway BudgetEven as he chose to remain silent on freight in his speech and said he will keep passenger tariff unchanged, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Thursday sought to hike goods rates on a host of items between 2.1 percent and 10 percent in his maiden budget, to garner 13.5 percent additional revenues on this count.

“Then freight structure for the Base Class-100 has been proposed to be increased by 10 percent,” an explanatory statement on freight, appended with the budget documents showed, indicating the hike sought in the most basic goods such as salt for human consumption.

The minister also proposed to reduce the number of classifications to ascertain freight rates, as also rationalise the distance slabs — a move that will see freight revenues jump from Rs.106,927 crore as per the revised estimates for this fiscal to Rs.121,423 crore.

Looking at some of the specific commodities, the revision in the class of freight and the tariff works out to 2.7 percent higher for cement, 6.3 percent for coal, 0.8 percent for iron and steel, 10 percent each for grain, pulses, urea and 0.8 percent for kerosene.

But in some cases there has been a marginal cut as well – such as 1 percent for high speed diesel, and 0.3 percent for limestone, dolomite and manganese.

“Keeping in view the buoyant trend of freight loading during the course of the year, the revised target of freight loading for 2014-15 has been retained at the budget estimate level of 1,101.25 million tonnes,” said the explanatory statement on the budget. The increment for 2015-16 has been kept to just 85 million tonnes. (IANS)

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