New Delhi: Railway unions on Tuesday threatened to launch an agitation against the possible rollback of passenger fare hike and demanded a matching grant from the government if it is done.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, five federations - All-India Railwaymen's Federation, National Federation of Indian Railwaymen, Federation of Railway Officers's Association, All-India RPF Association and Indian Railway Promotee Officers Federation - have sought appointment with him to discuss the issue.
"We had sent a memorandum to PM earlier also. On Tuesday we have sought an urgent meeting with him regarding the impact of rollback on railways' finance. We will wait for three days for the PM's response and after that we will decide our future course of action," said All-India Railwaymen's Federation General Secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra.
Asked what will be their future course of action, Mishra said, "We will go for a country-wide mass agitation."
He further said "If government decided for the rollback then it should give a matching grant to railways otherwise railway will go Air India way".
With the fare hike proposal in the Rail Budget, Railways have set a target of earning Rs 4,000 crore in the next fiscal.
Demanding adequate support, Mishra said "If the government decides for partial rollback then railways would be deprived of Rs 3000. In that case government should give a matching grant to railways."
While Railways have taken a loan of Rs 3000 crore from the government in the current fiscal, the national transporter has got Rs 24,000 crore as gross budgetary support for 2012-13.

Accusing the government of giving "step-motherly" treatment to the Railways, Mishra said, government is helping ports, roads and other schemes but it does not care for an organisation which carries crores of passengers daily.

On the new Railway Minister, he said, "We welcome him and are ready to cooperate with him also, but efforts must be made to save the Railways."