New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) After introducing train travellers to the poor man's cup, the eco-friendly 'Kulhars', Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today proposed putting the poor on an airconditioned 'Rath'.
But with fares higher than the second class sleeper, there seemed little chance the poor would hop into the 'Garib Rath' trains he plans to run on four routes on a pilot basis.
''It is good. But how can I travel in airconditioned class when the fare is double,'' wondered Ramavtar, a rickshaw puller. Travel by the superfast new trains will cost 25 per cent less than that in the 3rd AC of other trains.
''The train is actually aimed at the emerging middle class that wants more comfort, but cannot afford to pay more,'' explained a Railway Board member.
The Minister, while seeking the biggest ever increase in the plan size for the Railways to match the pace of economic growth, kept the comforts of the middle class in mind.
He reduced the fares in airconditioned classes and left the fare in other categories untouched. But he made no proposal to increase the number of wagons for those travelling in usually jam-packed ordinary unreserved compartments.
The poor man on the street got just a 'Rath' he would find hard to afford.
UNI NAZ/VN VD HS2013