Air India pilots who called in sick and have not reported to work for a week, were not found at home by doctors sent by the airline; nor have they reported to the doctors empanelled by the national carrier.
According to the medical summary accessed by Hindustan Times, 48 of the 53 Delhi-based crew who reported sick weren’t at home, or their residences were locked and their mobiles unreachable.
Eighteen outstation pilots were examined at Hotel Hyatt, most complaining of bad stomach and backache. They were found medically fit.
The aviation ministry’s medical summary makes for interesting reading — there appears to be a sudden epidemic in Air India’s pilot community, with 9 of the 18 outstation pilots complaining of bad stomach.
Not one of the nine was found dehydrated.
The doctors’ comments for all read: “Vitals stable, hydration fair”. Similarly, two pilots complained of toothache but the doctors found “no swelling”.
Backache suddenly appeared to have become fashionable. Four pilots complained of lower backache. While one pilot’s report read, “forward bending painful”, the remaining three were found to have a “normal gait”.
Of the 53 homes visited by doctors, 12 were found locked. When doors were opened, the medical teams were given unclear information.
One pilot’s mother said her son was at the doctor’s with a bad stomach, but she didn’t know where. Another’s brother said the pilot had gone to the doctor but wasn’t sure for what, and the pilot’s phone too was unreachable.
Only five of the 53 Delhi-based pilots, who had called in sick, were found to have genuine grounds for staying off work.
Aviation minister Ajit Singh, who had told this paper that it would be difficult to take back pilots sacked for striking work, is said to have been angered even more with this report of “sham illnesses”, ministry officials said.