Both the ruling Trinamool Congress and Opposition CPM and Congress party in West Bengal flayed the rail hike fare, questioning its timing coming as it does just about three weeks ahead of the rail budget scheduled to be placed in Parliament on July 9.
“Is this a super rail budget before the rail budget? Not bothering about the Parliament. The common man is already burdened, now he will be over-burdened,” Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP and spokesman Derek O’Brien said in statement.
He said that just before the Lok Sabha elections, a fare hike was effected by then UPA government. “Now another round of hike. Tricks of the previous government followed by the present one also. No respite for common man,” he said.
Former Minister of State for Railways and West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said the rail fare have been hiked by the Narendra Modi government through “back door procees”. “We never said that rail fares could not be increased. But the way it has been increased is really bad. When the government has announced that rail budget would be placed on July 9, then why this fare hike prior to that? They have used a back door process,” Chowdhury said.
Chowdhury, also the Berhampore MP, said the motive behind the fare hike is to “keep budget clean”. He further said that the BJP, during the campaigning for the Lok Sabha election, had made the soaring prices of essential commodities a major issue.
“They said that the Congress-led UPA government could not manage anything and only increased the prices of the essential commodities. But what they are doing now? In a month of coming to power, they have increased prices of several commodities,” he added.
The Left Front too slammed the 14.2 per cent hike in passenger fare and 6.5 per cent in freight rates. “CPM strongly condemns the rail fare hike. The party will organize protest programmes in front of every railway station on Saturday,” Left Front chairman Biman Bose said in a statement.