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Surge pricing: Oppn parties demand rollback, call it loot

Congress, Left, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Aam Admi Party (AAP) condemned the decision by the Centre and demanded its roll back on Thursday. The main opposition party Congress termed the hike in railway fares through surge pricing as “Tuglaki Farmaan” by the Narendra Modi-led government. 

 “Battling price rise of essential commodities and runaway food inflation, the latest decision by (Narendra) Modi government to impose ‘Surge Pricing’ through ‘flexi fare system’ in Rajdhani, Duranto and Shatabdi trains is a shock for the ordinary people of India,” Congress leader Randeep S Surjewala said in a statement. “It is high time the Modi government realises its mistake and announce a roll back of the  ‘Tuglaki Farmaan’,” he added.

Surjewala also alleged the decision to implement surge pricing from September 9, before the festival season of Dussehra, Diwali, Chhat Puja, Onam and Bakr-Eid proves “anti-people mindset” of Modi government to fleece the people. 

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) also strongly condemned the announcement of  ‘flexi fares’. The party feels that the scheme, however, excludes the highest class of travel i.e. AC I and Executive Chair reflecting the pro-rich bias of the government. “The Indian Railways plays a very important role in unifying our country and is a public service for the vast majority of our people. This cannot be treated as a profit-making enterprise of the government. If this model were to be made applicable to other public services like government hospitals, fire brigade and the police who will respond on the basis of demand at a given point of time, it would amount to a complete abdication of the government in providing public services to the people,” a release by the left party states.  

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands the immediate roll back of this anti-people measure.
Meanwhile, RJD chief and former Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Thursday lashed out at the Modi government for increasing railway fares ahead of festive season and tweeted that, “Do not do such Leela Prabhuji. The common people will die from such Leela. People should be pleased, not angry.”

Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal too demanded a rollback. “AAP strongly opposes surge pricing in railways and demands that it should be rolled back,” Kejriwal tweeted. “I am in Shatabdi right now. Spoke to several people. Everyone is against Modi government’s surge pricing,” the Chief Minister said in another tweet. 

Indian Railways on Wednesday announced flexi pricing in its three premium trains of Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto on Wednesday. While the first 10 per cent of the seats will be sold at the normal fare, the base fare will increase by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold. Once half the tickets are sold, the rest will be sold at 1.5 time higher base fares for 2S, sleeper and 2AC coaches and 1.4 times higher for 3AC coaches.

The new fare structure will, however, not be applicable to 1AC and executive class coaches.
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