Railway Minister Mukul Roy on Thursday rolled back the fare hike, except for three high-end classes of travel, which his predecessor proposed. Mr. Roy also struck down the plan to restructure Railway Board.
Without much fanfare, both Houses of Parliament ratified Mr. Roy’s proposals and passed the Railway budget, bringing the curtain down on a week-long political drama that held up passage of the budget Dinesh Trivedi had presented on March 14.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had opposed the fare hike and demanded its immediate withdrawal and the resignation of Mr. Trivedi, her party’s nominee in the Cabinet. He quit on Sunday paving way for Mr. Roy’s elevation as Railway Minister.
Mr. Trivedi was not present in the Lok Sabha and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too was conspicuous by his absence.
Mr. Roy withdrew the hike for second class suburban and non-suburban, and sleeper class travel fare by 2 paise, 3 paise and 5 paise per km, saying it was a “huge drain on the pocket of the masses.”
He also rolled back the hike of 10 paise per km for travel in AC chair car and AC 3-tier fare stating the middle class would be hit severely. He did not say anything about the proposed hike in the fares for travel by First Class, AC 2 tier and AC 1 by 10 paise, 15 paise and 30 paise per km. This means, with the approval of Parliament, these increases will come into force from April 1.
Mr. Trivedi’s decision to raise platform ticket to Rs. 5 would stay.