New Delhi, Jan. 24: Indian Railways is planning to impose a surcharge on Tatkal tickets and on fares of special trains such as the Rajdhani to offset the impact of the diesel price hike.
"The discussions on imposing surcharge are at a preliminary stage and no final decision has been taken so far," a Railway Board official said. "We had not anticipated the diesel price hike would have such an impact."
The development comes close on the heels of an across-the-board hike in passenger fares after a decade. An increase of about 2-10 paise per km in tariff is expected to fetch the cash-strapped railways Rs 6,600 crore annually. In this fiscal, it will help the railways to mop up an additional Rs 1,200 crore.
However, officials said the railways would have to pay Rs 3,300 crore more for diesel annually. "So, almost 50 per cent of the income from the increased passenger fare will be washed out and it could be more if prices move upwards."
The oil companies hiked the diesel price by Rs 10.80 per litre for bulk buyers, including the railways that spend around Rs 24,000 crore per year on fuel of which diesel constitutes Rs 16,000 crore. The railways need around 250 crore litres of diesel annually.
In 2011-12, the railways earned Rs 104,278.79 crore with freight contributing Rs 69,675.97 crore and passenger fares accounting for Rs 28,645.52 crore.
The railways have decided to raise cloak room and locker charges from February. The locker charges for 24 hours have been hiked to Rs 20 from Rs 5, officials said. For each subsequent 24 hours, the charges will be Rs 30.
The cloak room charge has been revised to Rs 15 per luggage from Rs 10. For each subsequent 24 hours, the rate will be Rs 20.