New Delhi: The Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi has written a letter to the Prime Minister disapproving 20 percent hike in rail freight rates just after the completion of assembly elections.

He wrote in the letter that the decision to increase railway freight rate, which the Centre took by "bypassing the Parliament", should be withdrawn. It is more objectionable as the decision has come just after the completion of assembly elections in five states.

Modi has written that with the increase in rail fares, prices of coal, fertilizers and foodgrains will go up. At a time when the people are struggling with inflation, this increase in prices will make situation worse. According to an estimate, there will be an increase of about Rs 350 per tonne in the prices of fertilizers and food grains. Increase in coal prices will affect power sector.

"In the last six years, Coal India has increased the rate of coal by five times and freight rates have increased by six times. Due to these hikes, Gujarat has to suffer the financial burden of Rs 1,900 crore. The latest freight hike will lay another Rs 300 crore burden on the state," Modi said.

"At this juncture, to increase the railway freight without any concern to other sectors and people of the country is totally uncalled," the letter said.


(JPN/Agencies)