The former Railway Minister, Mukul Roy, has slammed the United Progressive Alliance government for the hike in rail fares and the manner in which Parliament was “bypassed” on the issue.
“This government is carrying on a loot. The manner in which the railway fares were hiked by 20 per cent and Parliament by-passed to do this is completely improper and against the interests of people,” the senior Trinamool Congress leader told journalists at the State Secretariat.
Mr. Roy said the hike decision came amid other “anti-people” measures, including repeated hikes in fuel prices, withdrawal of subsidies on LPG and the introduction of foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.
“The decision is anti-people and anti-poor and will affect the people at large,” he said.
Mr. Roy was appointed the Railway Minister after his predecessor Dinesh Trivedi resigned, days after presenting the Railway budget that proposed a hike in fares.
Mr. Roy rolled back the fare hike, except for three high-end classes of travel.
“I do not agree with their [the Centre’s] opinion. There are so many ways and means to increase revenues…I was the Railway Minister for six months. There was no need for the hike in fares at the moment,” he observed.
Mr. Roy said he spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Railway Board when he took the decision to roll back the hike and outlined his strategy to “protect the Railways without increasing the fares.”