Union Minister Kalraj Mishra Saturday termed the hike in train fare as a step taken under “extreme compulsion”, but said the government was working to find a solution to compensate its economic effects.
In a pre-budget move, cash-strapped Railways Friday 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 8,000 crore a year.
“This hike is due to extreme compulsion, but some solution will be worked out to compensate the possibility of rise in inflation due to hike in railway fares. Efforts will be made that inflation does not rise,” Kalraj said.
On a question regarding hike in rail fare amid speculation of rise in cooking gas, petrol and diesel prices, he said, “We have just come into power. Criticising the working of the previous government on everything is not right, but the manner in which the situation had emerged, some harsh steps have to be taken.”
He added: “But while taking harsh measures, some arrangements have to made in future to coordinate between the two so that inflation can be controlled in time to come. Meetings of different ministries are being held under Union Finance Minister in this direction. Some solution will definitely be worked out.”
He said the ongoing crisis in Iraq was creating a hurdle in controlling inflation.
“It is a big reason,” he said, adding that the government works according to the plan prepared by the Planning Commission.
“We are a federal government so we have to look that interest of the states were not affected,” he said.
The market is considered the largest cloth market in Asia and it houses a number of textile units and factories.