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Mukul Roy slams rail fare hike

Kolkata: Former Railway Minister Mukul Roy on Wednesday termed the across-the-board hike in train fares as 'anti-people' and effected by bypassing Parliament.

"The hike is anti-people. The railways have social obligations. The hike  will hit the common people," Roy, the all-India general secretary of Trinamool Congress told reporters here.

"We criticise the way the fare hike was announced bypassing parliament," he said.

Roy said that there was a 20 percent hike in fares before the budget session, to which his party was opposed.

He said when he took charge as Railway Minister he had rolled backed the hike in passenger fares for second class suburban and non-suburban, sleeper, AC chair car and AC 3-tier which was effected in the railway budget by his predecessor Dinesh Trivedi.

"There are many ways to increase revenue ... there was no need to increase the rail fare," he said, claiming he had talked to the Prime Minister and the railway board chairman on ways to increase revenue.

"Trinamool Congress opposes the fare hike and will hit the streets tomorrow across West Bengal to protest it," he added. Trinamool Congress Chief Whip in the Rajya Sabha Derek O B'rien said "Pre-budget hike is an old and dishonest Congress tactic. When budget comes it will be window-dressed as people-friendly. Bad habits die hard.

"So anti-poor, minority status UPA government increases railway fares by 20 per cent. LPG, diesel, train tickets, the Congress inflation engine chugs along," he said.

(Agencies)

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