New Delhi: CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday hit out at the government over the rise in the ticket fares of short-distance passenger trains, and accused it of being "disconnected" with the masses.
Amid concerns over the issue, the Railways had on Wednesday said the "slightly high fares" were only meant to discourage unnecessary travel.
"This government's disconnect with millions of Indians for whom the Railways are their economic lifeline & sole connect with the rest of India is complete. This price rise and its shameless defence shall be appropriately answered by the people," Yechury said in a tweet.
The Railways maintained that since the coronavirus-triggered lockdown was eased, it was running only special trains. It started with long-distance trains and now, even short-distance passenger trains are being run as special trains.
As a special provision in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fares of these trains have been fixed at par with the price of unreserved tickets of mail and express trains for the same distance, a statement from the railway ministry said.
For example, a ticket from Amritsar to Pathankot costs Rs 55 now. Earlier, it was priced at Rs 25. Similarly, a ticket of a passenger DMU between the Jalandhar City railway station and Ferozpur costs Rs 60 now, while it used to cost Rs 30 earlier.
"Railways would like to inform that these slightly higher fares for passenger and other short distance trains had been introduced to discourage people from avoidable travels and those which are not most necessary,” the Railways said.