NEW DELHI: The railways hiked fares of both passenger fares (14.2%) and freight (6.5%) on Friday, leading to furious uproar.
The Modi-led government at the Centre supported the hike saying that it is in fact ‘bitter pill’ that the aam aadmi must put up with.
Detractors on the other hand alleged that the Centre was already failing in delivering its election-time promise of ‘achche din’.
Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India protest against hike in rail fare, outside the governor’s house in KolkataHere are the seven facts about the ‘historic’ rail fare hike that you must know:1) As railway minister, Pawan Bansal had to bit the bullet and raised fares by 5-10% after a decade in June 2013. Reservation and supplementary charges for superfast trains were also hiked by 5.8%.2) The next hike of fares took place in October 2013. It was initiated by Bansal’s successor, Mallikarjun Kharge. Fares went up by 2% and freight tariff increased by 1.7%. A few days later, the cost of food on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto express trains was raised by Rs 25-27.
3) Danish Trivedi, Pawan Bansal’s predecessor in the railways ministry, had hiked fares in February. However, the increased fares had to be rolled back following opposition within his party, Trinammol Congress. In fact, Trivedi also resigned from his post following the controversy.
Congress supporters protest against the rail fare hike in Delhi
4) Rail fares were reduced twice during the UPA’s two-time tenure at the Centre. The first time was when Lalu Prasad was minister (UPA-I) and the second time was when Mamata Banerjee was railway minister.
5) The biggest reason that has been cited by railways for increasing fares in massive shortage of funds. Railways has been losing Rs 30 crore every day after the UPA government withdrew the fare hike announced on May 16, the day Lok Sabha election results were declared.
6) Passenger subsidy alone had been adding up to Rs 26,000 crore.
7) It seems like a wary UPA had left fares unchanged in the interim rail budget in February.