Coronavirus: Railways to face Rs 1,700 crore

COVID-19: Railways to face Rs 1,700 crore loss due to halting of passenger trains

Indian Railways has suspended all passenger services until March 31 and only goods trains will run during the period. The suspension includes all suburban train services. Although, trains that commenced their journey prior to 4 am on March 22 will complete their journeys. (PTI Photo)

With the cancellation of passenger trains across the country till March 31 due to coronavirus, Indian Railways is likely to face around Rs 1,700 crore losses.

The national transporter already suffered Rs 800 crore loss for the past two months following the cancellation of trains due to low occupancy. For the last two week, the cancellation of trains and tickets are more due to coronavirus outbreak.

Though train services halted from midnight on Saturday, around 300 trains, which started their journey before Sunday's Janata Curfew,  would reach their destination by Monday evening. With this total 13,523 trains, which carries passengers in the Indian Railway network, will come to stand still, said an official in the railways.

However, 8000 freight trains continue to run to ensure smooth movement of goods, said the official.

The railways accumulated revenue loss to the tune of Rs 30, 000 crores over the years. Due to economic slowdown, the ticket booking and freight earning also slow down for past one year.

However, the national transporter has increased its targeted passenger earnings to Rs 61,000 crore in coming fiscal, and freight earnings to Rs 1.47 lakh crore as per the pink book tabled in Parliament on February 5, 2020.

It had increased its new targets at a time when it was struggling to meet passenger earnings targets for the financial year 2019-20.

Railways witnessed worst operating profit in 2017-18 with just 98.44 %, showing its poor financial health.

However officials in Rail Bhavan says the current halting of trains is due to extra oridinary situation for public safety. This can' t viewed as monetary loss. Halting of train service was required in the nation's interest,  said the official.

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