Bike, car own­ers can af­ford costly fuel: Alphons

Atro­cious state­ment: Cong

The Asian Age - - Front Page - AGE COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Who buys petrol? Some­body with a car, some­body with a bike. Cer­tainly they are not starv­ing... Some­body who can af­ford to pay has to pay.

— K.J. Alphons, Union min­is­ter

Stok­ing a row, Union min­is­ter of state for IT and tourism Alphons Kan­nan­thanam on Satur­day jus­ti­fied the ris­ing petrol prices, say­ing those who can af­ford to own cars and bikes can also af­ford to pay higher prices for fuel.

Main­tain­ing that the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment had de­cided to hike petrol prices to im­prove the lives of the down­trod­den, he said that to pro­vide food, house, toi­let, ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment to the poor, the gov­ern­ment is sourc­ing rev­enue from petrol prices. “Prime Min­is­ter Modi has a huge dream for the poor of In­dia. Thirty per cent of Indians go to bed with­out a square meal a day. There are sev­eral peo­ple who do not have ac­cess to toi­let or a proper dwelling house... So we are go­ing to tax peo­ple who can af­ford to pay. Some­body who has a car, bike, etc is not starv­ing. Some­body who can af­ford to pay has to pay,” the for­mer bu­reau­crat-turned-min­is­ter told re­porters at the BJP state head­quar­ters here.

If state gov­ern­ments al­low, petroleum and liquor would be brought un­der GST, he said.

Mr Alphons’ com­ments come at a time when fuel prices are at a three-year high though in­ter­na­tional crude prices have crashed.

The Congress hit out at Mr Alphons for be­ing in­sen­si­tive to the com­mon man’s prob­lems.

For­mer petroleum min­is­ter M. Veer­appa Moily called his state­ment atro­cious and said, “Bu­reau­crats who come to politics, have no un­der­stand­ing of peo­ple’s prob­lems.”

Dur­ing the UPA regime, he added, ben­e­fit of low crude prices was al­ways passed on to con­sumers.

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