Patna, Jan 12: Criticising the rise in train fares, JD supremo Lalu Prasad today said that the railways have “derailed” since he left the office of railway minister. “The railway has derailed from the track.... The people in power are trying to destroy the lifeline of the country,” Prasad told reporters.
Claiming that revenue generation from the passenger fare hike would be paltry, he said, it had not gone down well with passengers.
Instead of raising the passenger fare, the government should have revisited the freight rate and put in place additional infrastructure for improving freight service, the former railway minister said.
Prasad said that he was the first railway minister to pay special attention to freight service to generate additional revenue.
He said that he had started work to connect Ludhiana and Howrah and Mumbai and Delhi with goods trains, but his successors did not carry out the projects to the logical conclusion.
He said his initiatives to promote warehousing for traders to transport their goods had not been followed by his successors.
On the price rise, the RJD supremo demanded convening of an all-party meeting to take into account the views of all. He said that state governments should cut various taxes on petroleum products to provide a respite to the people.
Prasad, whose party the RJD extends ouside support to the UPA government, said that the next general elections would take place on schedule and ruled out a midterm polls.