Trivedi justifies fare hike as interest of railways

New Delhi: Unfazed by the attack on him by his own party for raising rail fares, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi today justified the move saying it was a "conscious decision" in the best interest of the Railways. "No comments," he said when asked whether he would quit as Railway Minister as his party, Trinamool Congress, was demanding a rollback of the fare hike.

He said the party leadership was not aware of the provisions made in the Railway Budget. "It is a very big misconception that the Railways is run from the Writer`s Building (headquarters of West Bengal government). She (Banerjee) did not know anything at all and there was no interference by her in any aspect of the budget," Trivedi said in reply to a volley of questions after he presented his maiden rail budget in Parliament.

Asked about Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay`s demand for a rollback of the fare hike, he said "political parties have a right to their philosophy. There is nothing wrong in it. "Whatever decisions we have taken are conscious decisions, which we have taken with full responsibility in the interests of the Indian Railways and the country."

He said Mamata Banerjee only spoke as Chief Minister of a state about projects relating to Bengal, like any other Chief Minister. Trivedi parried a question whether he agreed with his party`s policies, saying "I don`t want to get into politics. This press conference is only about the railway budget".

Asked whether the hike was "necessary", he said "you also know whether it was necessary" and said that without raising resources, no modernisation or safety or other works could be carried out.