Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress, which is the the fourth largest party in the Lok Sabha, today said it would continue its protest till the Centre rolled back the hike in rail fare entirely and also rail freight.
Addressing a party rally at the busy Shyambazar five- point crossing here as part of the week-long protest against the fare increase, Mukul Roy, party general secretary, termed as a "bluff" the announcement that the 14.2 per cent increase in passenger fares would not apply to second class suburbun journey upto 80 km.
Citing an instance, he referred to the travel from Burdwan railway station to Howrah station in West Bengal by a large number of daily passengers, saying, "It is announced that fare hike would not apply to second class suburbun journey upto 80 km. It is a bluff. Commuters on the route could not avail the exemption."
Burdwan is a junction station on the Howrah-Delhi main line and the distance from Howrah to Burdwan is 101 km. Roy, a former Railway minister later told PTI, "Our agitation against rail fare hike would continue till it is withdrawn. Such a hike bypassing Parliament is unjust. We will protest against the hike inside the House when the Budget Session of Parliament begins next month".
He said that the increases in rail freight by 6.5 per cent meant that prices of all commodities would go up also and that it would affect common people.
Roy said that Trinamool Congress was a "pro-people" party and it cannot accept any "anti-people" decision. He said party had pulled out from previous UPA government when prices of diesel and petrol and fertilizers were hiked and also to protest against its decision to allow FDI in retail sector.
Different wings of the party, including the youth and students fronts, have been holding rallies and marches across the state since June 23, party sources said.
Later, the Railway ministry announced that the 14.2 per cent hike in passenger fares would not apply to second class suburban journey upto 80 km.
The state Assembly on June 23 had unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to roll back the rail fare hike. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on June 23 demanded that there be a rollback of the hike considering the inconvenience that the common people will face and termed the Centre`s decision `unprecedented` and `anti-people`.