Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi presented his maiden Railway Budget in Parliament. There is nominal fare hike in this budget, which is first in last nine years. Minister announced that the proposal was to hike fares ranging from two paise to 30 paise per kilometre.
Trivedi said the increase would be 2 paise per km for suburban trains; 3 paise per km for mail trains. Express train fare was up by 5 paise per km, 10 paise per km for a/c chaircar, 10 paise per km for a/c 3-tier, 15 paise per km for a/c 2-tier and 30 paise per km for a/c 1st class. Platform tickets are also increased to Rs 5.
Fare hike didn’t go well with his party TMC and WB Chief Minister has criticised it and demanded for the immediate roll back. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal too criticised it and termed the Budget presented as anti people and anti-poor. He said that the increase in the railway fares would hit every section and worst affected would be poor people of the country.
Chief Minister said that Railways Minister had also hinted at the increase in freight charges, which would adversely affect all sections of the society already struggling to make both ends meet in the view of rising prices. He said that Railways Minister had astutely mentioned the hike in rail fare in paise, which was no more but play of words by the Minister but the countrymen couldn’t be befooled any more.
Chief Minister said that UPA had no moral right to voice the concerns of common man as its policies and programmes had always been directed towards benefitting the rich section of the society. Prof. Dhumal said that interests of Himachal Pradesh had been once again overlooked in the Railways Budget. He said that inspite of the fact that the State had been pressing the demand for construction of Mandi-Manali, Leh-Ladakh rail line for the last so many years, in view of its strategic importance, but the Centre had been indifferent to the same. He said that a survey of this railway line had already been done but still the Central Government had not paid any heed in strengthening the railway network in the State. He said that this amply speaks of the indifferent approach and attitude of the UPA Government towards BJP ruled States.
Dhumal said that it was unfortunate that Himachal Pradesh had not been given its fair share even in the proposal to construct 45 new railway lines of 700 km length in the country in 2012-13. He reiterated that center Govt has been biased toward Himachal as only 44 kms long rail line had been constructed in the State since Independence. Chief Minister said that there was a proposal to upgrade 750 km double gauge and 800 km long narrow gauge railway line in the country in 2012-13 but State had also been ignored in this budget.