Air India deal, a free gift to Tatas: CTUs

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 13, 2021

‘Allow workers to retain their quarters till retirement’

The Centre is handing over of Air India to Tata Sons as a “free gift” for a “far less amount than what has gone into building it up into a giant carrier”, according to the Central Trade Unions.

The joint platform of the CTUs said in a joint statement on Wednesday that “several lakhs crores was infused from national exchequer to expand Air India’s asset base, huge fleet of aircrafts and properties, both in the country and abroad.”

“Only in 2009-10, ₹1.10-lakh crore was infused in Air India by the Centre comprising of ₹58,000 crore cash support and rest through Government guarantee on credit. Now the sale-deal with Tata envisages that Government will absorb ₹46,262 crore of the ₹67,000 crore debt burden of Air India but the assets created by such debt will be handed over to Tata in lieu of only ₹18,000 crore,’ the statement added.

The CTUs said they had opposed the merger of Indian Airlines with Air India (in 2006) saying that such a move will not help in recovery as claimed. The CTUs had argued that merger would incur more losses and add debts to the company, to pave the way for its sale.

“The Government is silent about how its own policies of handing over profitable routes to their cronies, buying a huge fleet of aircraft when not needed, brought the air carrier to this pass. The truth is before us. India will be perhaps among the few countries, where Government will not own its air carrier,” the statement added.

HMS writes to PM Modi

In a separate letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, HMS general secretary Harbhajan Singh Sidhu said the Centre has not bothered about the employment of about 2,500 workers of Air India in Delhi and Mumbai. Sidhu demanded in the letter that all serving employees should be allowed to continue in the company till their superannuation.

“Employees are equally concerned about eviction from Air India staff quarters. There are two high schools in Mumbai that provide education to around 4,000 students living in and around Air India colony. It would be very difficult for them to find out suitable accommodation in the costliest city of Mumbai. It will ruin the education of their children as well,” Sidhu said in the letter to Modi and requested that the serving employees should be allowed to stay in staff colonies till their superannuation.

Published on October 13, 2021

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