Car, bike owners can afford petrol, says Union minister

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After a controversial statement on beef, Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Saturday once again came up with insensitive remarks. This time over a steep rise in petrol prices.

Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam

Justifying the rising fuel prices, Kannanthanam said, "Who buys petrol? Somebody who has a car, bike; certainly he is not starving. Somebody who can afford to pay, has to pay."

The minister went on to say that welfare of the downtrodden is going to cost enormous amount of money. Therefore, he said, "We are going to tax people who can afford to pay."

"We are imposing the taxes so that the poor have a dignified life, money being collected today is not being stolen by us," he added.

It may be recalled that the price of petrol has been hiked by Rs 6 since July. Petrol is now priced at the highest rate in three years with the rates being revised daily.
Diesel price has increased by Rs 3.67 a litre and now costs Rs 57.03 a litre in Delhi, the highest in four months, according to data from state-owned oil companies.

Last week Alphons Kannanthanam's statement on consumption of beef created lot of buzz on social media. He said, "They (tourists) can eat beef in their own country and come here," when asked by a reporter whether restrictions on consumption of beef in several states in the country will adversely affect the hospitality industry. He was speaking at a convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators in Bhubaneswar.

Alphons was inducted into the Narendra Modi-led government in the cabinet reshuffle that took place on September 3. He is a former bureaucrat and belongs to Kerala.

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