The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The announcement of a surcharge on railway passenger fares is a backdoor method of increasing railway fares for all categories. The railway minister has not spared the ordinary people since second class sleeper fares will go up by Rs. 10 to Rs. 20 and monthly season ticket holders will also have to pay Rs. 10 more.
The surcharge has been levied on the plea of creating a safety fund for the railways. So far the Indian railways has a deplorable record for safety, given the rising rate of accidents with heavy loss of life. The amenities provided for passengers have also seriously deteriorated. Instead of re-examining the priorities and making the government allocate sufficient funds for safety and maintenance, the Vajpayee government has chosen the easy way out to tax the people further.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposes the increase in the passenger fares and demands that the government withdraw the surcharge immediately. It calls upon all the Party units to protest this new burden on the people.