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Alphons stokes row over petroleum prices, draws sharp criticism

Thiruvananthapuram: Bureaucrat-turned-Union Minister K.J. Alphons on Saturday yet again stoked a controversy when he said that people who own bikes and cars are not starving and can afford to pay higher prices for fuel, remarks that drew sharp criticism from political rivals.

His comments coming at a time when fuel prices are at a three-year high when international crude prices have crashed were described by opposition parties as insensitive to the common man’s problems.

“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. 67 per cent of the people in the country do not have toilets, new homes have to be built and for all such things lakhs and crores of money is required and hence the this money is raised by hiking the price of fuel” he said, while speaking to reporters at the state party headquarter here.

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.

The state unit of the BJP had come under severe criticism as on the day Alphons was sworn in, the state party headquarters wore a deserted look and the only noticeable celebrations was only at his home town in Kanjirapally in Kottayam district.

As his remarks came under attack, Alphons who had a recently stirred the hornet’s nest by making contradictory remarks on beef, sought to justify his statement on the petroleum prices.

“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,” he said.

Congress leader and former Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily attacked Alphons saying it was an atrocious statement. “This is how bureaucrats, who come to politics, have no understanding of people’s problems. Many of the ministers in Modi’s government are like this.”

He said during the UPA government, any of the petroleum minister they had decided to pass on the benefit of low crude prices to consumers. “Anti-incumbency has set in against the government,” he said.

इंडियन एयरफोर्स के मार्शल अर्जन सिंह ने ली अंतिम सांस, सुबह पड़ा था दिल का दौरा

नई दिल्ली। भारतीय वायुसेना के मार्शल अर्जन सिंह (98 वर्ष) का देहांत हो गया. रक्षा मंत्रालय ने बताया कि उन्हें शनिवार सुबह दिल का दौरा पड़ने के बाद उन्हें दिल्ली के रिसर्च एंड रेफरल अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया था. प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी और रक्षा मंत्री निर्मला सीतारमण ने अस्पताल पहुंचकर अर्जन सिंह का हाल-चाल लिया था.

अर्जन सिंह जब हॉस्पिटल में भर्ती हुए थे तब मोदी ने कहा कि भारतीय वायु सेना के मार्शल अर्जन सिंह को देखने आर एंड आर हॉस्पिटल गया था. वह गंभीर रूप से बीमार हैं. मैं उनके परिवार के सदस्यों से भी मुलाकात की. उन्होंने कहा था कि हम सभी उनके जल्द ठीक हो जाने की कामना कर रहे हैं. डॉक्टर अपनी तरफ से पूरी कोशिश कर रहे हैं.

Cheques of Rs 0.68 sent to PM Modi by farmers on his b’day

Kurnool: On his 68th birthday (September, 17), farmers of Kurnool district sent thousands of cheques bearing an amount of Rs 0.68 to Prime Minister Modi in a protest. The move is a result of the continuous negligence of the government.

Thousands of cheques were collected by Rayalaseema Saguneeti Sadhana Samithi (RSSS) to be presented to the PM.

According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, RSSS president Bojja Dasarah Reddy said that contrary to its image of a water-starved region, major rivers such as Krishna and Penna as well as their tributaries Tungabhadra, Vedavati, Handri and Chitravathi, Kundu, Bahuda carry well over 1,000 tmc ft of water each year to the region.

Due to the biased allocation of water, the region faces severe drought on account of insufficient irrigation infrastructure, despite having access to a large amount, he added.

He said that to develop the backward region, a special development package was announced on lines of the Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahand special plan in Odisha and the Bundelkhand special package in Madhya Pradesh in the AP State Bifurcation Act.

The bifurcation Act also predicted completing ongoing projects like Handri-Neeva, Galeru-Nagari, the steel plant at Kadapa, railway zone at Guntakal, a number of educational institutes including an agricultural University and health institutes, Reddy added.