Thousands of Trinamool Congress activists and senior leaders, including former railway minister Mukul Roy, Thursday hit the streets demanding immediate withdrawal of the hike in railway fare and urged the passengers, who have already booked their tickets, not to shell out the difference.
“The Centre’s decision to hike the fare is unethical and illegal. It was not mentioned in the budget.
We are telling passengers not to pay the excess amount,” Roy, who led the protest, said.
A number of other senior TMC leaders, including party MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, cabinet ministers Madan Mitra, Firhad Hakim and Rajiv Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikary participated in the protest march from Sealdah station to the Eastern Railway headquarters at Fairlie Place.
He said when TMC leaders such as Mamata Banerjee, Dinesh Trivedi and Roy himself were at the helm of the Railway ministry, they had worked towards the development of the railways without increasing the fares.
“We demand an immediate roll back of the decision to hike passenger fares and freight tariff and also the proposed Kolkata Metro fare hike after the Pujas”, he said.
The Railways hiked passenger fares by 2 per cent from October 7 while the fares of the Kolkata Metro too have been raised, effective October 18.
“The hike in Kolkata Metro fares range between 100 to 125 per cent. It is unacceptable. This government is anti-people,” Roy said.
Speaking at the rally, Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, “The decision to hike railway fares after the increase in prices of petrol and diesel is anti-people. It was done bypassing parliament We will launch a massive protest after the Pujas against it and will also go to Delhi to register our protest.”
Adhikary pointed out that the TMC had pulled out of the UPA because such anti-people policies.
However, Rail minster Adhir Chowdhury, clarified that it was wrong to term the 2 per cent hike as “hike in fair”.