Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP, today said "common man has been run over by train" with the sudden and steep hike in rail fares.
By doing this, the Centre has handed over a tool to the opposition parties, an editorial in today's edition of Shiv Sena mouth piece 'Samana' said. "Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has in the first instance brought a steep fare hike and has run the train over the common man," the editorial said.
People had voted the Narendra Modi government to power to save themselves from the rising inflation. "However, the Railway Minister increased the passenger fares by 14 per cent and the freight charges by 6.5 per cent. The Mumbai suburban commuters have to face a 100 per cent rise in fares," the editorial noted.
If the same hike had been brought by the Congress, those who would have bombarded it with criticism and abuses are now in government with a full majority, it said. "The new government should now introspect how it hurled abuses at the previous Congress regime in the past and honestly work towards improving the efficiency of the railways," the editorial said. The government's view is that the railways were running in losses of Rs 28,000 crore per annum and the hike was intended to provide safety, security and comfort to the passengers, the edit said.
It also alleged corruption in the rail ministry. "Congress's P K Bansal's relative was caught red-handed accepting bribe, and tenders were awarded for commissions," it charged.
The railway minister is answerable to the people about how the funds will be utilised for welfare and improvement of the railways. "People expect that this should be the final increase," the paper added.