Do not push the poor people too hardA recent move of the Indian Railways to convert a number of passenger trains to express trains, by eliminating some stops and making the trains much faster to travel is a crucial blow to the poor. For example, there is this famous train called Coimbatore-Nagercoil passenger. This is a long-distance train that takes around eight hours to cover the distance. It stops in many places. However, the move of the Railways will mean that the poor will pay triple the fare.
The Union Railway Minister should come out of his cabin and look at the poor. The number of traders who survive by such passenger trains would run into millions and the trading that they do would amount to a minimum of one hundred crores per day, in any zone. For example, even if we were to just take the Southern Railway, which includes just Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the number of long-distance passenger trains will be at least 20, covering a distance of more than 200 kilometres.
Let the rich pay for the poor. Let the Rajdhani and Tejas express fares be pushed up by another Rs.100/-. Let every passenger who travels by any train, anywhere in India, in the big metro stations, pay just Re1/- extra even by an ordinary EMU train, post-COVID. This extra amount can subsidize the passenger trains and these trains should continue as passenger trains. Do not kill the poor or push the poor to the brink of extinction. Already Corona is taking a heavy toll on their lives. Let the Re1 be called Passenger train subsidy. At some stage, even the rich may train will such passenger trains, but it is the very poor traders and other agriculture people who travel by such trains and indulge in all sorts of "buy" and "sell" activities.