Political parties came down heavily on the AI pilots’ strike even as civil aviation minister Ajit Singh reiterated his readiness to hold talks with the agitating pilots. Singh said, “they (pilots) must make sure that Air India does not lose credibility”.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “by continuing the strike, they are testing the patience of even those Parliamentarians who have always fought for taking Air India to its earlier strong position.”
In a debate on policy in civil aviation sector in Lok Sabha, CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta accused the government of providing a faulty bail-out package and said that salary arrears should not be paid in installments to the AI employees.
Initiating the debate, CPI leader Gurudas dasgupta asked Ajit Singh, “can you ask your secretary or officers to work without salaries?”
But Dasgupta also mentioned that both sides — the government and the pilots — need to show more flexibility in handling the crisis.
BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain, a former civil aviation minister, questioned why two profit-making companies (Indian Airlines and Air India) were merged
into a loss-making entity. “Late Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi was associated with Indian Airlines. But this Congress government wiped out the name of Indian Airlines,” he quipped.
Hussain also asked the government to check the random fare hike by budget carriers taking advantage of adverse situations.