Developing cold feet within hours of announcing a steep hike in passenger fares and freight rates, railways tonight put it on hold, saying a decision on the revision will be left to the next government.
The fare hike decision, which raised eyebrows as it came in the midst of Lok Sabha election results, led to a scurry of activities in Rail Bhawan here and the Board huddling into a meeting to discuss its fallout.
Amid mounting criticism over the timing of the announcement, a red-faced Railways deferred the decision.
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge came out with a statement directing the Board to leave the decision on the hike to the new government.
“It is now informed that under the directions of the Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge, the decision on the proposed hike in the freight charges and passenger fares have been kept pended till further advice for placing this proposal before the new government," the statement said.
Railways had earlier in the day issued a notification effecting hike in both passenger fares and freight rates by 14.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively from May 20. This was followed up with the an official press release.
However, a fresh notification was issued, stating that the "revision of fares with effect from May 20 should be pended till further advice."