DMK joins chorus for rail fares' rollback

DMK joins chorus for rail fares' rollback

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK),  another ally of the Congress in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), joined the Opposition demand for a “partial” rollback of the passenger fare hike proposed in the Railway Budget.

This is the second ruling partner to make the demand, after the Trinamool Congress which has had its own party’s Dinesh Trivedi removed as Railway minister soon after he presented the budget.
E G Sugavanam of the DMK said in the Lok Sabha that the government should “reconsider” the proposed passenger fare hike. Scaling down of the fare hike was essential to reduce the burden of the common man.

Samajwadi Party’s Reoti Raman Singh also demanded that the hike in general and sleeper classes should be rolled back but said an increase in AC coach fares was acceptable.

Congress member P C Chacko said a “marginal rollback” could be considered.

Initiating the discussion earlier, BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan pointed out that the government’s Railway Budget lacked vision. She charged Trivedi with playing a fraud on the nation by raising freight rates substantially through a notification on March 6, just days before presenting the Railway Budget.

Sumitra poked fun at the way Trivedi was divested of the Railway ministry. "It reminds me of a Hindi movie sequence where the hero was tied up and asked ‘Maar diya jaaye, ya chhod diya jaaye’ (should you be killed or spared), “ Sumitra said.

While presenting the Railway Budget, Trivedi had firmly spoken of the need to “bite the bullet” but he was himself “hit by the bullet,” she said.

Trivedi, who continues to be a member of the House, was absent during the discussions.

P C Chacko said the House could collectively decide where fares could be reduced but “we should not come to the conclusion that the entire fare revision is unreasonable. We will have to see that the Railway is developing,” he said.

Janata Dal (United) member Dinesh Chandra Yadav said the increase in railway freight tariff would affect the prices of essential commodities.

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