The decision of the Railways on Friday restores an announcement of May 16, the day Lok Sabha election results came, when the same hike was effected but immediately put on hold.
The Railways had then issued a notification effecting hike in passenger fare by 14.2% across the board and freight charges by 6.5% from May 20. This was followed up with an official press release.
The May 16 fare hike decision, which had raised eyebrows as it came in the midst of Lok Sabha election results, led to a scurry of activities in Rail Bhawan on that day and the Railway Board went into a huddle to discuss its fallout.
Soon after, the red-faced Railway Ministry had put the decision on hold, saying the matter related to the revision will be left to the next government. The then Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge came out with a statement directing the Board to leave the decision on the hike to the new government. "It is now informed that under the directions of the Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge, the decision on the proposed hike in the freight charges and passenger fares have been kept pended till further advice for placing this proposal before the new government," the statement said.
A fresh notification was issued later, stating that the "revision of fares with effect from May 20 should be pended till further advice."
Political parties react
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Friday said that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is burdening the common man by hiking railway fares.
"Yesterday, they were talking about common man, and today, they are burdening the same. The irony is that the same people when in opposition would critique the government when any economical decision was taken," said Tewari. READ MORE
Former railway minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad on Friday slammed the Narendra Modi government for announcing "big" hike in rail fare and freight, which he described as the "first salvo on common man".
"The BJP befooled people in the general election by promising Achee din...they have fired the first salvo from toop (tank) on common man's chest by announcing big increase in rail fare and freight," Prasad told reporters. READ MORE
Condemning the "unprecedented" hike in rail fares and freight charges, Left parties on Friday attacked the Narendra Modi government for pursuing the same policies of the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and demanded a roll back.
"This is a cruel blow to the working people who have been victims of relentless price hikes in the years of Congress misrule. Instead of bringing them some relief as promised in his election campaign, the Modi government has put a huge burden on the mass of people who use the Indian railways," the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI(M)) Politburo said in a statement. READ MORE