Former Prime Minister and JDS chief HD Deve Gowda today flayed the steep hike in railway fares and freight charges, saying it was contrary to the Lok Sabha election campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat the price rise. "In spite of the present Prime Minister fighting Lok Sabha elections on major issues including price rise, the Railway Minister has gone ahead with the announcement of increasing passenger fare hike, which will have many implications," Gowda told reporters here.
Stating that there was no need to make the announcement about the hike before the budget session of Parliament which would commence from July 7, Gowda said, "within 15 days, heavens would not have fallen." It was also unnecessary on the part of the Railway Minister to put the onus on the previous UPA Government for taking the decision on the hike. He said the issue of hike and the need for more funds for Railways could have been discussed in Parliament.
On the controversy over Hindi in the wake of two circulars issued by the Union Home Ministry to promote its use in the social media, he blamed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for "raking" up an old emotive issue and diverting people's attention from burning problems. "Where is the need to create the problem and subsequently clear the air. The Home Minister is an experienced man. These are not the issues now. There are so many burning issues. Why do you want to divert the attention of the people on these things and flare up emotions?" Gowda questioned.
On the Cauvery issue, Gowda said the major problem with Karnataka was that the parties here take up issues, not in one voice, but on the contrary AIADMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu come together on issues such as Cauvery. "Therefore, I suggested in Delhi during the all-party meeting that at least we should speak in one voice. Let us not try to get political mileage. The elections are over. Now, at least you must realise how to protect the state's interest," he added.
Rail fare hike difficult but correct decision, says Arun Jaitley
Defending the steep hike in rail fare and freight rates as a 'difficult but correct decision', Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the railways can survive only if users pay for availing of facilities. "The passenger services have been subsidised by the freight traffic. In recent years, even freight fares have come under pressure," he said in his first reaction to the 14.2 per cent increase in passenger fares and 6.5 per cent hike in freight rates. Stating that the choice before the government was to allow the railways to bleed and eventually walk into a debt trap or raise fares, Jaitley said, "India must decide whether it wants a world-class railway or a ramshackled one. "The railway minister has taken a difficult but a correct decision...The Indian Railways for the last few years have been running at a loss. The only way that Railways can survive is when users pay for the facilities that they avail." Read more
BJP leaders term rail fare hike a strong and effective measure
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Siddharth Nath Singh defended the rail fare hike, calling it a strong and effective measure to counter Congress' failure. Naqvi told, "Correction of the Congress' failures is the priority," adding, "The challenges the country is facing is an inheritance passed by the people who are protesting against it." He added, "The Modi government was trying to take strong and effective measures. Soon people will realise that measures that are being taken is to rid people of their problems." Meanwhile, BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said, "Any government faces two choices, to go for the growth or to give doles in the form of vote bank, the decision taken by PM Narendra Modi's government is to bring India out of the economic mess left by the earlier UPA-II government." Read more