No breakthrough, govt blames BJP
The Air India crisis acquired a political hue on Thursday with the government suspecting the opposition BJP of instigating the striking pilots. HT reports.delhi Updated: May 06, 2011 01:00 IST
The Air India crisis acquired a political hue on Thursday with the government suspecting the opposition BJP of instigating the striking pilots.
The second day of talks between civil aviation ministry officials and the pilots did not yield results and both sides will meet again on Friday.
A ministry official blamed the BJP, saying the pilots were "taking guidance" from its leaders, which wasn't a "good sign".
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy confirmed to HT that a team of around 40 pilots had met party president Nitin Gadkari.
"Gadkari expressed concern about the stalemate and wondered why the government took so long to start negotiations. He said AI looks like a bigger scam than the others that have rocked the nation. He appealed to the pilots to find a solution and keep the fight against corruption on," Rudy said.
Ministry officials blamed the pilots for making new demands and they, in turn, accused the government of being adamant.
"First, they asked for a fixed salary for 75 hours of flying every month. Today, they demanded they be given $1,600 (Rs 71,900 approximately) as allowance," an official said.
Pilots of the former Indian Airlines get a daily allowance of $300 (Rs 13,500 approx) for short-haul international routes while those who worked for former international carrier Air India get $1,600 for long-haul routes.
The pilots claimed the government was offering to re-instate them and recognise their union - something they had before they proceeded on strike.
On Thursday, AI floated a tender to get aircraft on wet lease (with pilots on board) for three months extendable to six months.