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. Congress senior spokesperson Ajay Maken said the party would continue its fight until this draconian taxation regime is withdrawn.
"This statement is very unfortunate". This shows the high headedness and arrogance of the BJP leaders. "Lot of people do not have a house".
This was his first visit there after being sworn in as Union Minister and to make amends, the entire state leadership and top leaders were present to receive him and payasam (kheer) was served to all.
"You don't need an IAS to know that fuel price hike doesn't only affect people with vehicles. Somebody who can afford to pay has to pay", said Kannanthanam. Who buys petrol? Somebody who has a vehicle or bike is certainly not starving.
In his speech in Thiruvananthapuram, Alphons said the Modi government was committed to ensuring the welfare of the downtrodden by building houses for the homeless, providing electricity in all villages and building toilets in all houses.
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"We are imposing the taxes so that the poor have a dignified life. All this money that is being collected is not being stolen by the Centre". "Somebody who can afford to pay, has to pay", he said.
When asked about the increase in prices of essential commodities in the wake of fuel price hike, the minister said inflation rate in the country was less than half per cent, as prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
It may be noted that people are angry over steep hike in prices of petrol and diesel since the government announced daily revision of fuel prices.
The basic cost of petrol after the refining is around R30 per litre, while its current retail price per litre is Rs 70.