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Congress terms rail fare hike biggest in history, demands rollback

PTI 20 Jun 2014, 20:35:13 IST
New Delhi: Hitting out at the NDA government for the across-the-board increase in railway fares, the Congress today sought immediate roll back of what it termed as the “biggest hike in history”.

Taking potshots at BJP's poll slogan of “good days are to come”, Congress General Secretary and head of its media department Ajay Maken said the “gift” by the Modi government is putting an additional burden on the shoulders of the middle class, lower middle class and the poor.

He also referred to Modi's tweet on March 7, 2012 against UPA's government's hike in railway fares.

Reading out a portion of the letter Modi had written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Maken said, “'The decision also reflects huge communication gap between the Ministries of Railway, Energy, Coal and Environment. This is despite the Prime Minister constituting a high-level committee for coordination'”.

“I want to ask if this lack of coordination that he wrote about is still there? While in Opposition, he said something else and now in power he is doing the opposite,” Maken said.

In a pre-budget move, Railways effected a steep hike of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares in all classes and a 6.5 per cent increase in freight rates.

“This comes at a time when the prices of onions and potatoes have skyrocketed. Also, there is concern about delay in monsoon and the ongoing problem is Iraq is also having an effect on global crude prices.

“This hike will have affect prices of food items, coal and hence we strongly condemn it,” Maken said at a hurriedly- called press conference.

He said another sad part was that this hike comes into effect from June 25.

“If a family has gone out for summer holidays, and if they are coming back on or after June 25, the TT will ask for additional money,” he said, criticising the small gestation period.

Asked what was Congress' demand, he said, “As an Opposition party, we demand an immediate roll back of this hike. Never before in history, has there been such a huge hike”.