Velu denies making statement on rail fare proposals

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (UNI) Minister of State for Railway R Velu today expressed displeasure over some news channels wrongly quoting him as saying that there would be no hike in the fares in the Railway Budget 2008-09.

''This is to clarify that while interacting with the media after the Conference on High Axle Load at Vigyan Bhawan here today, the minister only said that the budget will be people-friendly and refused to make any comment when one of the media representatives asked about the fare hike in the Budget,'' a statement issued from Rail Bhavan said.

It said ''certain sections of electronic media are showing a news misquoting the Minister of State for Railways, Shri R Velu, saying that there will be no hike in the fares in the Railway Budget 2008-09.'' In fact, Mr Velu had refused to comment on a persistent query from a reporter as to whether there would be a hike in passenger fares and freight rates.

''Don't put your words in my mouth. Wait till February 26.

Everything will be known on that day,'' was his curt reply to the query.

He, however, said that passenger fares had not been increased during the last four years, and ''Railway Minister Lalu Prasad's fifth budget will also be people-friendly.'' UNI SKS SP AS1849

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