Railways lose over Rs 7 crores in Kashmir in a single year

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SRINAGAR (Metro Rail News): The trains in Kashmir valley have remained suspended for over 8 months since last year resulting in revenue losses to the tune of over Rs 7 crores.
The back-to-back lockdowns that the Valley witnessed last year upset the train services on the 135 Kilometer Banihal-Baramulla railway line in the Valley. “We restarted the services on November 12, 2019 and the train chugged uninterruptedly for the next four months,” a Railway official told.
The train services were then suspended because of the COVID-19 on March 20 this year and have remained stalled. In between, an official said, a four day special run of Vistadome coach was conducted for shooting a documentary. “The run commenced on August 31. A special service was likewise provided to the students who were appearing in exams in Jammu on Monday,” he said.
One of the reasons behind the heavy losses was the timing of both the lockdowns, as the operations remained suspended between May and October which is viewed as purple patch. “During this period the revenue increases in the Valley and for the rest of the time the revenue remains at an average of Rs 3 lakh per day,” an official said. He continued that if rough calculations are drawn, the Railways suffered a loss of around Rs 7.2 crores in eight months.
Except for one day of the week, 15 pairs of train ferry nearly 30, 000 commuters, usually students and employees between Banihal and Baramulla. The officials said since the railways here generate revenue from the sale of passenger tickets, snapping of services caused huge losses to the department.
“Railways in Kashmir generate Rs 10 crore earnings annually, but the expenditure for the same period is more than Rs 70 crore. And with this loss the income further declines,” said an official wishing anonymity.
Officials said the worst part is that they have to pay off the salaries of the employees irrespective of the situation. There are around 2800 railway employees, including the 1500 security personnel whose salaries have to be paid. “We have 25 officers here who get a pay of around Rs 1.5 lakh per month. Similarly, 1500 grade-3 employees receive an average pay of around Rs 80,000 and grade-4 employees receive Rs 30,000 per month,” he said, adding that approximately Rs 14-crores are spent on salaries alone.
Apart from these employees, the railways have to pay salaries to an additional 1000 youth, with an average salary of Rs 30,000, who were given jobs against the land that came under the railway line. “This puts an extra Rs 3 crore burden on us,” the official said, adding that a huge amount goes into the repair of unused railway tracks.

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