Thiruvananthapuram: When people are asking for reconciliation over climbing fuel prices, Union Minister KJ Alphons on Saturday said, people who own bikes and cars are not starving and can afford to pay higher prices for fuel.
“So we are going to tax people who can afford to pay. Somebody who has a car, bike; certainly he is not starving. Somebody who can afford to pay has to pay,” the union tourism minister said.
His comments drawn sharp criticism from the Congress that attributed the minister’s “insensitive” remarks to the long years that he had spent in the bureaucracy. Mr Alphons comments come at a time when petrol and diesel prices are at all time high despite international crude prices declining by 50 percent over the last three years.
The money collected by the government wasn’t getting stolen as used to happen during the previous Congress-led UPA coalition’s tenure but was going into improving the life of the poor, he said as per a report by NDTV.
“Prime Minister has a huge dream for the poor of India. What is that dream? It is very simple. 30 percent of Indians go to bed without a full meal a day. A lot of our people do not have access to the toilet. A lot of people do not have a house,” he said.
Former petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily called Alphons’ defense of high prices as an atrocious and insensitive statement.
“This is how bureaucrats, who come to politics, have no understanding of people’s problems. Many of the ministers in PM Modi’s government are like this,” he added.