Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha’s remarks Monday, in which he had said flight fares were now cheaper than autorickshaws, sparked a debate on social media with many taking a jibe at him.
Speaking after inaugurating a new terminal at Gorakhpur airport, he said, “...Aaj aap jab hawayi yatra karte hain to hawayi yatra ka kiraya ek auto rickshaw se kam ho gaya hai…main engineer hun isliye har cheej number ke adhar par dekhta hun…Aap jab auto rickhaw mein do log baithte hain…aapne Rs 10 per km kharcha kiya…to Rs 5 per km kharcha lagega.” (Today when you travel by air, you pay lesser than what you would pay to travel in an auto-rickshaw…I am an engineer so I look at everything from the perspective of numbers… where two people pay Rs 10 per km meaning Rs 5 per km each)… Lekin hawai safar karte hain…to apko Rs 4 per kilometre dena hota hai... (But when you travel by air you have to pay Rs 4 per km…)”
On Tuesday, during an event in New Delhi, he sought to clarify his remarks, “If there are two people travelling in an autorikshaw then on a per person basis it is, say, Rs 4-5 per kilometre. That is cost of autorickshaw. Air fare, if you pick ahead of time, is Rs 4 per kilometre, even lower in some cases. So on per-kilometre basis our air fares are among the lowest in the world … Now, obviously I am not implying that you use plane for short distance … just how affordable our airfare actually are…”