Stuck at airports because of chaos in Air India operations, railway minister Mamata Banerjee has begun to see a "conspiracy" to downgrade the state-run carrier to help private airlines.
Banerjee asked her party's minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi to dash off a five-page letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling for urgent steps to restore the health of the airline.
In his letter, Trivedi warned about the possibility of Mangalore-type aircrash on May 25. His letter was sent on Thursday, which witnessed chaos at Delhi International Airport as Air India moved its domestic operations to the new Terminal 3.
As flights were delayed, Banerjee, who was traveling to Kolkata with party colleagues, remained stuck at the airport due to shortage of crew. Trivedi too was stuck, ironically, after he sent the letter about "management hurdles" in Air India.
Trinamool sources said Banerjee blamed civil aviation minister Praful Patel for "failing" to address the problems and shared the " strong feeling" among all sections of Air India staff that the management wanted to "deliberately" make the airline sick so that it could be sold cheaply.
Trivedi said in his letter that he was writing with a lot of "pain, agony and anguish". He said, "pilots of Air India and Indian Airlines are being forced to report for duty and fly even when they are unwell…900 flights have been cancelled in the last three to four months."
Banerjee asked Trinamool MPs to take up the issue in Parliament next week.