‘On one hand, promises of $5 tn economy, on the other...’: Shiv Sena slams Centre over Air India stake sale plan
The Shiv Sena on Tuesday hit out at the Centre over its decision to sell its entire stake in Air India as it questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for failing to run the company.
The government released a document inviting expressions of interest in Air India said India would sell a 100% stake in the carrier, which operates both domestic and international routes.
Monday’s bid is a renewed attempt to sell its national carrier after a similar move to sell a majority stake in the airline failed to draw a single bid in 2018.
In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena questioned the Centre’s inability to run Air India. The Sena, a former ally of the BJP, also asked why privatisation was the only option.
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“Air India was once the pride of the country... But due to changing circumstances, the mountain of debt rose to Rs 80,000-90,000 crore. There are several challenges in the aviation industry and there’s stiff competition. But in all this, private companies are managing to survive. Then a question arises that why can’t the government run a company like Air India properly,” it said.
“On one hand there are promises of becoming a $5 trillion economy and on the other sell-off of debt-ridden companies is like digging cavities of teeth to fill your stomach.”
The Sena also warned that the staff of Air India should not suffer in the privatisation process started by the government.
“The important question is the future of thousands of employees working with Air India. They should not suffer. Everyone knows what happened with Jet Airways and such things should not happen with Air India,” it said.
“It should be ensured that people don’t go jobless. Even after Air India is sold off completely it will still remain the pride and remembered always,” the editorial said.
Several other opposition leaders have already hit out at the Centre over the proposed sale of Air India, with the Congress accusing the government of misleading the people. The Congress demanded that the Centre lay out a clear plan for the Air India, saying that the proposed sale of the national carrier has been going on since 2014.
The CPI’s general secretary D Raja blamed the NDA government’s bad policies for the problems of the national carrier.
The Centre has also come under attack by its lawmaker Subramanian Swamy who threatened to go to court against the sale, calling it anti-national.