On 9th, the day after Holi, I had to go to Rupnarayanpur. Took the Volvo from Karunamoyee at 0630 AM and reached Asansol at 1115 AM. After getting down at Asansol, we came to know the the Public buses are not plying there due to continued Holi festival. The Volvo charged Rs. 320.00 per head for Karunamoyee to Asansol. It took about 5 Hours which is too long for 200KM distance.
At Asansol, having no other option we hired an Auto Ricksaw at a cost of Rs.300.00 just for dropping at Rupnarayanpur. This auto rickshaw fare is equal to Taxi fare of normal days. Imagine the Rickshaw ride after the journey by Volvo, what a contrast, Our main aim of this trip was to see one of my close relative who returned home from Hospital after treatment.
In the evening we had to return to Asansol. Since there was no buses on the road, we tried the train option this time. After many years I came to Rupnarayanpur station and noticed some changes too. I approched the ticket window and asked the ticketing clerk for ticket to Asansol (by Jhajha-Asansol local). By mistake I was holding a Rs. 100.00 Note. He noticed and laughed at me and said Rs. 4.00 only is the cost of the ticket. It was unbelievable to my ears. I asked him repeatedly. He confirmed as Rs. 4.00 per ticket for Asansol (21 KM).
I tried to compared the Railway Fare with the other modes of transports of this part of India which I just availed that day. The rate of Volvo Bus ticket comes to Rs. 1.60 per KM and the Taxi about Rs. 14.26 per KM. And the Railway fares for local trains comes to 19 Paisa per KM which sound like the fares of British India periods.
From the above it can be concluded that the Indian Railways doing charity to the citizens of India by charging a nominal fare whereas all round price rise is manyfold. There is no reason for not increasing the passenger fares. The politicians should understand that the department is about to be bankrupted today due to their crazy Vote Bank politics in everyfield.
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This article was written two days before the Railway Budget. Like every citizen of this country sensed there would be an increase of the fares after Nine years and the Minister Dinesh Trivedi did the same thing to save the Indian Raiways. Due to the fare hike, the Party supremo got wild and asked PM to sack her minister. Finally the poor minister lost his job just because he tried to save The Indian Railways by raising fares very little. But the party does not mind to put the Raiways into a grave situation and the hikes were reverted by a newly appointed minister. This is first time the country witnessed this kind of madness in the Indian Democracy. God only can save Indian Railways now.