Opposing the rail fare hike, Uddhav Thackeray has demanded a roll-back of the hike or a reduction in quantum of hike.
“I will talk to the Prime Minister, asking for the hike to be cancelled or partially rolled back,” said Thackeray, the Shiv Sena president. If a rollback is not feasible, Thackeray has suggested another option-the government should ensure quality of services is improved.
The 14.2 per cent hike will pinch the pockets of the 70 lakh commuters of suburban railways in Mumbai. The average Mumbaikar will have to pay almost double for season pass tickets.
The Congress and NCP are planning to stage agitations. The Congress said its workers will protest by travelling without tickets from CST to Thane on Monday. “We will undertake a statewide agitation if the hike is not called off by June 25,” Congress state president Manikrao Thakre said. The women’s wing of NCP held a protest at CST on Saturday.
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The BJP leadership claimed the hike was inevitable in view of the financial condition of the Indian Railways. Some leaders acknowledged that the party erred in taking a stand that the hike was cleared by the previous UPA government. “Our economy is in a bad shape and it is important to give some bitter medicine. We, however, should have come forward and explained the need for the hike rather than blame the Congress for the decision,” BJP MP from Mumbai North Gopal Shetty said.