New Delhi: Slamming the Railway Budget, CPI(M) on Tuesday said it will hit the common man further through direct hike in freight rates and an indirect hike in passenger fare charges and will have a spiralling effect on prices.
The party said there have been no new announcements in the Railway Budget and expressed apprehensions on the expansion plans of the Railways, saying it is based on the assumptions of external funding which may not fructify.
Concerns were also raised by it on `non-announcement` of any safety measures in the Budget.
"The Railway Budget appears to be populist, but it is not one. In real terms, there is hike in all accessory charges and passengers fares will go up. In practical terms, there is a hike which is camouflaged," CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.
He said the inclusion of Fuel Additional Charges (FAC) as part of inbuilt mechanism for upward revision of fares will result in fare hike twice every year and will add to the burden of price rise, due to which the common man is already suffering.
"The 5 per cent hike in freight rates means a cascading effect on inflation. The Railways` contribution to inflation is going to increase and will have a spiralling effect on prices, which is already breaking the back of common people," he said.
Raising doubts over funding of the Railways expansion plans, Yechury said, "The finances of the Railways is very fragile and none of the plans are likely to fructify."
Party leader Basudeb Acharia said the Budget has not focussed on the expansion of the Rail network and bring unconnected areas under it.
"With growth in the economy, there should be growth in the Railway network. Many areas of the country are still not connected by the Railways," Acharia said.