Criticising the hike in railway passenger fares announced by the central government Friday, the Trinamool Congress said the step was taken without “bothering about parliament” and it would “overburden” the common man.
“Is this a Super Rail Budget before Rail Budget?” twitted Trinamool spokesperson Derek O’Brien.
“Not bothering about Parl. The common man already burdened will be overburdened,” O’Brien said.
The government during the day raised the railway passenger fares by 14.2 percent in all classes and freight charge by 6.5 percent.The new passenger fare and freight rates will come into effect from June 25.
Earlier in the day, in a pre-budget move, cash-strapped railways today effected a steep across-the-board hike of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares in all classes and a 6.5 per cent increase in freight rates to garner Rs 8000 crore a year.
The decision, which will come into effect from June 25, marks implementation of an announcement of May 16, the day Lok Sabha election results came, when the hike was announced but put on hold immediately. In a flip-flop, the Ministry first announced that today’s hike will be implemented with immediate effect but later changed it to June (rpt) June 25, saying the officials needed time to execute it.
Announcing the decision, less than a month after the NDA government took over, Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda said, “I was forced to implement the order that was done by my predecessor. I am only withdrawing the withholding order.”
He said the interim budget presented by the previous government had assumed certain revenues on the basis of the
proposed hike that was announced on May 16. “Meeting the annual expenditure would not be possible unless the revised rates as finalised by previous governmentis implemented, hence order of withdrawing implementation of revised fare and freight has been withdrawn,” said the Railway Ministry, which is incurring a loss of about Rs 900 crore per month in passenger segment. “Accordingly, the revised passenger fare and freight rates and freight structure rationalization will come into effect from June 25, 2014,” it said in a statement.
The hike was announced nearly a week after Modi said the country should be ready for “tough decisions” required to improve the financial health. The Railway Budget will be presented in Parliament in the first week of next month. Two days back, Gowda had said he would meet Prime MinisterNarendra Modi before announcing the hike