Plan to increase Indian rail tickets turns nasty

AP News
Posted: Mar 14, 2012 11:42 AM
Plan to increase Indian rail tickets turns nasty

The usually staid unveiling of India's mammoth railway budget has devolved into farce as the rail minister was reprimanded by the powerful head of his own party for announcing a small fare hike.

Dinesh Trivedi told Parliament that the first fare increase in eight years would add as little as one rupee (two cents) for every 50 kilometers (30 miles) traveled on the cheapest fares.

Rail experts said India's huge rail network was desperately in need of funds for infrastructure and safety upgrades.

But soon after the speech Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee said she would not allow any fare hike in the 600 billion rupee ($12 billion) rail budget.

Trivedi responded that he would try to persuade her to change her mind.