The Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) on Tuesday denounced the Railway Budget proposal for the fiscal year 2013-14, saying it had camouflaged the hike in rail fares.
"They (government) tried to be very populist saying that there was no hike in passenger fares but in real terms, the passenger fares will go up substantially because all the other services connected with the basic fare such as reservation, cancellations, Tatkal etc. are slated to go up," said Sitaram Yechury, CPI-M politburo member and the party's Parliamentary group leader.
He also condemned the government's proposal to impose fuel additional charge (FAC) twice a year.
"Fuel additional charge (FAC) is going to be imposed twice a year. So there is an inbuilt mechanism for an upward revision of fares at least two times in a year," he added.
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who presented his maiden Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha this morning, however, said there would be no hike in passenger fares, as a hike had already been introduced in January this year, but added that certain charges like supplementary fee, superfast fee, reservation fee, cancellation fee and Tatkal charges will see a marginal hike.
He also underlined the measures to make the Indian Railways a better and safer mode of transport and said that the time had come to make the organisation financially sustainable.
Bansal further said the rail network needs to be expanded at a faster rate, and added that the growth of railways is linked to the nation's growth. (ANI)