Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has lambasted the Centre for hiking railway passenger fares by two per cent, and demanded that the hike be reversed at once. She accused the Centre of using the Fuel Adjustment Component policy to pave the way for railway rates to be hiked every six months, just like its deregulation of petroleum pricing had paved the way for increases every month.
“I strongly condemn this anti-people action of the Centre and demand that the hike be rolled back at once,” said Jayalalithaa in a statement on Sunday. “This is a time when petrol and diesel prices are being increased regularly, inflation continues to rise and many burdens are being cast on the people by the Centre. How is it just to raise rail rates at such a time?” she asked.
She termed “unacceptable” the decision to revise railway rates every six months, saying such a decision was akin to the decision to deregulate petroleum prices, which is a policy she has demanded be rolled back. “As a result of the Centre’s policies petroleum price hikes, which used to happen about twice a year, have become a monthly feature. The decision to revise railway rates every six months is a betrayal of the people,” she said.
She noted that the rail rate hikes announced in the 2012 Railway Budget had been rolled back under political pressure from the AIADMK and other parties, but had been effected before the 2013 Railway Budget.
Jayalalithaa further blamed the Centre, saying it could have avoided the hikes by absorbing the losses had it prevented massive graft scandals like the 2G spectrum scam, coal block allocation scam, Defence scam and the Commonwealth Games scam.