New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday lashed out at the Congress-led UPA Government for announcing a hike in railway fares with effect from January 21, and termed the move to be atrocious.
"The government has completely failed to tame the inflation, which is their main duty. But instead of giving some relief to the common man, they are now increasing the burden on the common man by raising all kinds of tariff. Now they have today increased the railway fares to the extent of fifteen percent without improving the facilities, amenities or the infrastructure," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
"So, the first demand is increase safety and facility, without that there is no right of the government to increase the fares. And particularly in a situation when people are reeling under inflation, this is atrocious and cannot be tolerated. The government should not burden the people when they really need a relief," he added.
Ahead of the proposed railway budget for 2013-14, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday announced a fare hike that will take effect from January 21 midnight.
Addressing a press conference here, Bansal said that having hiked the railway fares now, the government will not increase the tariff in the budget.
"Train fares will be hiked from January 21 for all passengers, including the AC-1 and AC-2 tier passengers who were affected in early 2012. The hike will be two paise per km to 10 paise per km across classes. All fares will be rounded off to Rs 5, and there will be no fare hike in the Railway Budget," he said.
Justifying the hike, Bansal said passenger segment losses are likely to touch Rs 25,000 crore in the current fiscal.
"Input costs have increased immensely while rail fares have remained stagnant. In fact there was a decrease in lower class fares. Given economic slowdown, we have not been able to so far achieve this year's targets in either freight or fare side," he added.
He said that the slowdown has further impacted railways' earnings.
He further said hat extra revenue earned through the fare hike will be used to maintain cleanliness and safety.