Railway trade unions today welcomed the decision to hike fares of all classes from midnight of January 21, but passengers expressed dismay.
All India Railwaymen's Federation (AIRF) and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen
(NFIR) have been demanding the railway ministry to increase fares to meet the deficit and also warned of a grave financial disaster in case the ministry fails to do so.
P S Charan, General Secretary, South Central Railway Mazdoor Union, affiliated to the AIRF and Venkata
Subbaiah, General Secretary, South Central Railway Employees' Sangh, affiliated to the NFIR called the fare hike "a welcome step".
They said that the Railways is facing a financial crisis and is unable to meet day-to-day requirements, adding that many projects and recruitment of employees have been kept pending due to lack of funds.
Charan said that the present hike is not sufficient and the government should allocate Rs 15,000 crores to improve infrastructure and take up new projects.
He added that the government should consider that the Railways is the economy's engine of the growth and neglecting it would have an adverse effect.
On the other hand, travellers expressed unhappiness with over the decision. After being burdened with hike in prices of essential commodities, power tariff and other things, the fare hike is an additional burden on the common man, they said.