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Indian Railways’ revenue from the passenger segment is down by 87% compared to last year on account of regular passenger trains being suspended due to Covid 19, railway board chairman and CEO VK Yadav said on Friday. The passenger revenue of the national carrier fell from ₹53,000 crore in the previous year to just ₹4,600 crore this year, he added.

Yadav also said that, as per the ministry’s estimates, the revenue is expected to go up to ₹15,000 crore by March 2021, adding that freight revenue is expected to overtake last year’s revenue. “It is not possible to give a definite date for resumption of normal train services. The general managers have been in discussion with the state and we will resume services when and where we get the go ahead. Even now, the situation is not normal. So far our earnings from passenger revenue is ₹4,600 crore and by year end, our total earnings from passenger segment would be an estimated ₹15,000 crore. In the last fiscal, our earnings from this segment was ₹53,000 crore. This makes our earnings 87% less than last year,” Yadav said.

He also said that even in the trains that are currently in operation, the average occupancy is around 30% to 40%, reflecting that the fear of the pandemic is still there. Railways is currently operating only 1,089 special train services. Regular trains remain suspended since March 25, since the first lockdown to contain the spread of Covid 19 was imposed.

Railways also aims to increase its share in freight transportation from the present 27% to 45% by 2030 through better infrastructure and business development plans, according to the draft National Rail Plan unveiled on Friday. “Under the plan, we plan to raise our share of freight loading from the current 27 per cent to 45 per cent by 2030,” he said.

“Vision 2024 is a sub-set of the National Rail Plan. The aim is to reduce transit time as well as transit cost for our customers. We are planning to rationalise freight tariff, slowly reduce haulage charges, so that we can reduce cost, raise revenue,” he said.