West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday demanded roll-back of the “unprecedented, anti-people” rail fare hike considering the problems faced by common people.
Making a statement in the Assembly, the Chief Minister said that the decision to hike rail fare and freight rates had created problems for the masses.
When a democratic government comes to power, it comes to power on the basis of some promises. What lacks in today’s politics is that what the political parties preach before elections, they don’t follow that after coming to power, she said.
Ms. Banerjee said political parties in their manifestos talk about Acche Din (good days), but after coming to power decisions were being taken which were anti-people.
She said if the political parties had plans to take such harsh decisions, they should tell the masses that they would take such decisions.
In one of the steepest increases, the cash-strapped Railways last week raised passenger fare by 14.2 per cent across the board and hiked freight rates by 6.5 per cent to collect Rs. 8,000 crore annually.
Ms. Banerjee noted that during her tenure as Railway Minister, she had not touched the freight and railway fares because it would have adversely affected the day-to-day life of the common man.
Banerjee also said that she had information that the Centre might withdraw the present subsidy on LPG cylinders.
The increase in rail fare means increase in prices of all commodities. The decision will have an impact on the pockets which in turn will affect the kitchen of common man, she said.
A new government should be given time, but if it took unpopular decisions right from the first day, they cannot keep quiet, suggesting that the new government should be polite, soft and take decision in favour of people.
Ms. Banerjee, however, pointed out that their opposition to fare hike did not mean that they were being anti-Centre. It was just a reminder to the central government that the decision should be withdrawn for the sake of people.