Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar today surprised everyone with his remark on petrol price rise which has affected crores of people across the country. Speaking during his ‘Jansamwad’ programme in Patna on Monday, Kumar said if petrol-diesel prices have increased, they will come down too, NDTV India reported. Kumar’s remark comes at a time when fuel prices are at a three-year high when international crude prices have crashed.
Interestingly, Kumar had opposed the fuel price rise in July 2014, when he was not the part of NDA coalition. PTI had then reported Kumar as saying that he was not surprised by the then rising fuel prices. “I am not surprised. The rise in petrol and diesel prices along with soaring food prices have come as surprise to those who harboured expectations from the new government which had made tall promises of ‘Achhe din’ (good days) on election eve,” Kumar had told reporters.
On Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s recent suggestion to bring petroleum products under the ambit of GST, Kumar today said the revenue earned by states from taxes on petroleum products helps in running several schemes. GST on petroleum products may have a negative impact on welfare programmes of the state, he said.
Earlier on September 16, Union tourism minister KJ Alphons had triggered a controversy by saying that people who won biked and cars were not starving and they could pay higher fuel prices. “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,” he had said.
When Alphons’ remarks came under attack, he sought to justify it, saying, “Prime Minister has a huge dream for the poor of India. What is that dream? It is very simple. 30 per cent of Indians go to bed without a full meal a day. Lot of our people do not have access to toilet. Lot of people do not have a house,” he said.
Congress leader Veerapa Moily had said that Alhphons’ statement on fuel price rise was “atrocious.”