If you own ve­hi­cle, you can af­ford petrol: Alphons

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Ramesh Babu let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Union tourism min­is­ter KJ Alphons stoked a con­tro­versy on Satur­day when he jus­ti­fied fuel price hikes by say­ing that peo­ple who could af­ford ve­hi­cles should be pay­ing the in­creased prices.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia at the Ker­ala state cap­i­tal, Alphons said the Cen­tre was im­pos­ing tax to help the poor lead a dig­ni­fied life.

“Who buys petrol? Some­body who has a car or bike. Cer­tainly he’s not starv­ing. Peo­ple who can af­ford to pay should pay,” he said, adding that peo­ple who al­ways crit­i­cise fuel price hike should re­mem­ber it is for the ben­e­fit of the coun­try.

The bu­reau­crat-turned-politi­cian’s com­ment come at a time when fuel prices are at a three­year high though in­ter­na­tional crude prices have crashed, at­tract­ing crit­i­cism from op­po­si­tion par­ties which de­scribed them as in­sen­si­tive to the com­mon man’s prob­lems.

Congress leader and for­mer pe­tro­leum min­is­ter Veer­appa Moily called it an atro­cious state­ment. “This is how bu­reau­crats, who come to pol­i­tics, have no un­der­stand­ing of peo­ple’s prob­lems,” Te­lan­gana Rash­tra Samithi spokesman Bhanuprasad de­scribed Alphons’ state­ment as shock­ing. The gov­ern­ment is still fleec­ing peo­ple when crude prices have come down, he said.

CON­TIN­UED ON P 5

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