Vijaywada, Apr 6: National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) on Friday said the Centre should take immediate steps to improve the financial health of Railways and prevent it from going the way of debt-ridden Air India.
The Government should either hike the passenger fares (hike announced in the last month's Rail budget was partially rolled back) or reimburse subsidies borne by the undertaking in order to strengthen its financial condition, NIFR General Secretary M Raghaviah told reporters in Vijayawada.
The fate of Railways will be the same as national carrier Air India if the Government fails to come out with a comprehensive policy for the public sector undertaking which provides employment to over 15 lakh people, he said.
Politicians with selfish and political motives are damaging the Railways, Raghaviah alleged, adding there has been no substantial hike in fares in the last eight years though the cost of operation has increased manifold.
NFIR representatives recently met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and told him about the precarious financial condition of Railways. They would meet the Prime Minister soon, Raghaviah said.
He said NFIR opposes privatisation of Railways in the name of building high-speed speed rail corridors on Public- Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
Railways should itself take up such projects with the support of Government and without any participation from private organisations, Raghaviah said.