Blasting the Centre for the recent hike in passenger fares for trains, the former Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, Lalu Prasad, remarked here on Saturday that the country’s largest public utility had “derailed.”

“The revenue earned from the increase will not bring any major gains to the Railways. Those sitting in the government are playing havoc with the lifeline of the people. Ever since I have left the Ministry, the Railways had derailed from the track. The move has put people in difficulty,” Mr. Prasad told reporters after he filed his nomination for the post of the RJD’s national president.

If elected, Mr. Prasad will hold the party’s top post for the eighth time in succession. The announcement will be made on January 20 during the party’s national convention in Patna. Mr. Prasad said the Centre should convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.

Referring to his tenure as Railways Minister, he said the effort was towards harnessing the potential of the freight service for generating revenue. Many of his initiatives in the area of goods train services and creation of warehousing facilities for traders, did not see the light of the day after he left the Ministry. Instead of increasing fare, the government should improve the freight infrastructure, he said.