Looking from one side of the same coin, India has been seeing a fascinating dream of running bullet trains across the nation. While the other side of the coin shows the frightful picture of present scenarios in Indian Railways.
If we look at the rail budget, it is sufficiently high to maintain the Indian Railways in the best way possible. But the reality is really different from both the assumptions and presumptions made at the time of passing the rail budget.
All the luxury trains are running at a loss with every trip they make. This list includes Maharaja Express, Golden Chariot, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Deccan Odyssey and Palace on Wheels.
There is a clear absence of solemnity on the part of the Railway Ministry, where it seems they are busy in filling their own pockets rather than doing something substantial for the betterment of Indian Railways.
Operational Loss Of Rs 35,918 Crore
The earning from Railways plays a vital role in the Indian Economy. Thus, it is very crucial that the Indian Railways are in proper functionality. However, the previous practices followed by our former Railway Ministers have degraded the quality of services and options. They have averted a major chunk of 80 percent of the rail budget on various projects in their constituencies, contributing more to the heavy loss of Indian Railways.
According to the report, at present railways spends nearly Rs 79,918 Crore on passenger operations, while it receives only Rs 44,000 Crore from passenger fares. Thus, it incurs an operational loss of Rs 35,918 Crore annually.
Even though the railway ministry has introduced dynamic fare structure and many other schemes to raise its income, it has made the Railway tickets too expensive for common man. Are they no longer meant to be public services?
Luxury Trains Are Running With Low Occupancy
While the common mas is struggling with fares, the opposition took a turn and highlighted the useless operations of Luxury trains. They not only have low occupancy of just 30 percent, but also have high maintenance cost due to the services they incorporate. The whole package offered by the railways become costly for common man, but it lures the tourists.
The exhaustive analysis of the occupancy by the Parliamentary Standing Committee shows that the percentage of vacant seats during 2012-2017 has been 62.7% for Maharaja express, 57.76% for Golden Chariot, 45.46 percent for Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, 45.81 percent for Palace on Wheels.
Can’t something be done for adequate publicity of these trains and reducing fares so that the Indians too can take an extravagant ride in them?
Flexi-fare System In Top-tier Trains
Flexi-fare system introduced by Railway ministry last year on trains like Rajdhani, Duronto and a few Shatabdis has also increased the fare. This further disabled the Indian people to opt for these trains.
Where the Railway ministry believes that bullet train project will help Indian railways revolutionize every passenger’s journey, there are already such huge problems faced by Indian people due to high fare, that they will lose the trust their trust in railways. Who shall use trains then?
In such substandard condition of Indian railways, the main objective of Indian Railways should be the removal and resolving of such passenger problems. The Railway ministry should be serious enough regarding the functioning of railways, rather than thinking of powerful bullet trains.
At the end of the day, the present is important as it paves the way to the future. May we see people replacing the air in train coaches soon.