Pawan Sharma, a government employee, works six-day weeks. Anurag Singh, who sits in the same building — in fact in the room next to Sharma’s — has a five-day work week.
Singh, like Sharma, is a government servant. In fact, both work for the same company — National Aviation Company of India Limited or NACIL, as the company came to be known after the merger of Air India (AI) and Indian Airlines (IA).
The reason for disparity in work hours: Sharma was with the erstwhile IA while Singh was with AI.
“Three years after the much-publicised merger this is the stark reality,” said a NACIL official on condition of anonymity. The proposal to merge the two companies was approved by the Cabinet on March 1, 2007. The merger became effective from August 27, 2007 and both companies were dissolved.
“When we apprised a senior official of the blatant disparity we were shocked by his response. We were told there was no merger at all. We fail to understand the concept of merger,” erstwhile employees of IA wrote to the NACIL management in February. They gave details of some departments where employees doing the same work had different work hours.
NACIL agreed this indeed was the situation. “This is primarily due to the work load being different for domestic and international operations, when both airlines functioned as independent entities. Post-merger, the management is working on harmonising the work practices throughout the network,” a NACIL spokesperson said.
“Although more than two years have lapsed, the merger is neither visible in the air nor on the ground. It appears that all the planning and roadmap for this has gone haywire. Any successful business model, in fact, depends on the proper integration of men and materials from the beginning and not in the mid-way. In this case, the essential integration has not taken place in real terms,” the Sitaram Yechury-led Parliamentary Standing Committee had noted in its report on the merger tabled in Parliament in January.