The hike in rail passenger fares for second class suburban and non-suburban, sleeper, AC Chair Car and AC 3-tier was on Thursday rolled back with the new railways minister Mukul Roy dubbing it as a "huge drain" on the pocket of masses.
Former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi had proposed 10 paise per km hike each for AC Chair Car and AC 3-tier and West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was miffed with Trivedi for hiking the rail fares and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to remove him from the railway charge.
Trivedi's proposal to hike fares was estimated to generate additional revenues of Rs 6,500 crore. But after the rollback, the railways can generate only Rs 1,000 crore more.
Trivedi wanted to improve rail safety and so wanted to raise more resources for this purpose. Will the new railway minister not face the same safety issues? How will he generate resources for this purpose? Hence one wonders, if replacing Dinesh Trivedi with loyalist Mukul Roy at the railway ministry and rolling back fare hikes help the Indian Railways.
We asked our readers in an online poll if they agreed with Mukul Roy's decision to roll back fare hike.The responses were quite staggering as 89% of our readers voted against Roy's decision, thus supporting ousted minister Trivedi.
A meagre 11% supported the rollback.
Twitter also went abuzz as the roll back in railways fares was announced:
All rail fares, except first and second AC rolled back. Mamata proposes, Mukul Roy disposes!— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) March 22, 2012
Mukul Roy's only aim will be to change the name of Indian Railways to TR or WBR (Trinamool Railways) or (West Bengal Railways)— amithprabhu (@amithpr) March 22, 2012
How media covered the railway ministry fiasco: