Thiruvananthapuram : Vehicle owners are “not starving” and can afford to pay for petrol, Union tourism and IT minister Alphons Kannanthanam said on Saturday, making another controversial statement while defending the fuel price hike. Earlier he had also said foreign tourists should eat beef at their countries before coming to India.

“All money collected goes to the poor and it is an intentional decision taken by the government,” Alphons said.

Opposition leader in Kerala, Ramesh Chennithala, hit out at the Union minister for his remarks and described it as “utter foolishness”.

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