Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram while lauding the Centre’s decision to start operations of inter-state passenger trains, has urged it to also allow operation of road and air transport, saying it is the only way economic and commercial activities can effectively resume.
The government has decided to start train services from May 12 connecting Delhi to some select stations across the country, bookings for which will begin from Monday by the IRCTC.
“We welcome the decision of the government to cautiously start operation of inter state passenger trains. The same modest opening should be started with road transport and air transport,” Chidambaram tweeted on Monday (May 11).
“The only way economic and commercial activity can effectively begin, is to open road, rail and air services for passengers and goods,” he added.
We welcome the decision of the government to cautiously start operations of inter state passenger trains.
The same modest opening should be started with road transport and air transport.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 11, 2020
The Congress has been demanding restarting of economic activities which have come to a standstill in view of the complete lockdown enforced due to coronavirus.
The party has also demanded a relief package for the poor and an economic stimulus package to help the industry.
Chidambaram has been a staunch critic of the measures taken by the central government in handling the economic losses caused due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the migrant crisis ailing the country.
Earlier this month, he had criticised the government for hiking excise duty on petrol by ₹10 per litre and on diesel by ₹13 a litre, when the country is fighting a pandemic and economic crisis.
“Governments should give money to the people in times of distress, not squeeze and take money from the people,” he had tweeted. “We have been pleading for cash transfers from the government to the bottom half of the people/families. Instead governments are doing a reverse transfer of money from the people to the government! Cruel,” he said.
He had said that the government should instead borrow money to meet deficit.
(With inputs from agencies)