Saturday, July 20, 2024

Cong takes jibe at PM Modi’s ‘anyone wearing slippers can fly in plane’ claim

The Congress on Saturday took a swipe at the BJP-led Central government over the high prices of air tickets between Delhi-Mumbai, saying that his promise that even the poor can afford to fly on planes sounds like a cruel joke and it is creating havoc among flyers.

Congress also accused the government’s rampant privatisation policy as responsible for the ‘difficult situation’.

In a tweet, Congress General secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal, said: “Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi famously said that those wearing ‘Hawai Chappals’ (slippers) can travel on a ‘Hawai Jahaaz’ (aeroplane). With Delhi-Mumbai flights crossing Rs 15,000 plus everyday, his words sound like a cruel joke.”

“These skyrocketing airfares are creating havoc among the middle class. The government’s complete free pass to the airlines, coupled with their rampant privatisation spree, is responsible for the dire situation today. The Ministry of Civil Aviation must face some hard facts.

“When the economy is in the doldrums, it is criminal to lift the caps placed on airfare, like the govt did in August 2022. With Go First collapsing, and with SpiceJet barely flying any routes, why did the government have no strategy to correct this massive dip in the number of flights being flown?” Venugopal questioned.

Firing more salvos at the government, the Congress leader said: “The pricing algorithm will keep pushing the price up in cases of a high demand-supply mismatch. Does the government have any concrete intervention planned to check these airfares? Are the profits earned by private airport operators, especially Adani with its mega investment in airports, coming out of the pockets of the common person?

“Why was the Ministry so apathetic to the people’s suffering, that it allowed the flight prices from Bhubaneswar and Kolkata to go out of control when the Balasore train tragedy took place? The taxes on ATF fuel are a noose around the neck of airlines, the government should ensure the high cost is not passed on to the consumers,” he added.

His remarks came in the wake of the skyrocketing airfares between the Delhi-Mumbai route, which is one of the busiest routes.

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