Left parties on Friday demanded immediate roll back of the hike in freight charges for transport of foodgrains and fertilizers, saying it would lead to increase in prices of essential items and impose an immense burden on the people.
"The hike, coming at a time when the central government has had to bow to public pressure and reduce the prices of diesel and petrol, is entirely unwarranted and will lead to higher prices of essential commodities," the CPI(M) politburo said.
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the decision to hike freight charges from February one, it said higher charges on fertilizers was "shocking and reflects the total insensitivity of the government to the distress being faced by farmers."
Ahead of the interim rail budget, the Railway Ministry hiked the freight rates for foodgrains, pulses and flours by 8.33 per cent. As a result, the freight rate for a ton of foodgrains would rise from Rs 694.10 for 1000 km to Rs 751.90.
Speaking in the same vein, CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc termed the hike as "unjustified".
Describing the move as "atrocious", CPI leader D Raja said when global crude price had declined substantially, the government was raising freight charges which would hit the people hard.