Shiv Sena slams Centre over Air India stake sale decision
A day after the Union government announced a plan to sell its entire stake in national carrier Air India, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday hit out at the Centre over its decision. The Sena, in an editorial in mouthpiece Saamana asked questioned why the government failed to run the airline and why privatisation was the only option for the “debt-ridden” company.
“Air India was once the pride of the country... but owing to changing circumstances, the mountain of debt accumulated by the airline rose to around ₹80,000 crore. There are several challenges in the aviation industry; there’s stiff competition, but private companies are managing to survive. So the question arises: why can’t the government run a company like Air India properly,” it said.
The editorial further lashed out at the Centre, and said that on the one hand the government wants India to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025 but on the other, is selling companies which are in debt.
“On the one hand, there are promises of making India a $5 trillion economy, and on the other, [decides to] sell off debt-ridden companies, which is like digging cavities in teeth to fill stomach,” the editorial said.
The Sena also warned that the Air India staffers should not suffer due to the privatisation process.
“The important question is on the future of thousands of employees working with Air India. They should not suffer. Everyone knows what happened with Jet Airways and it should not happen with Air India. The staff should be assured that it wouldn’t lose its employment. Even after Air India is sold off, it will still remain the pride and always remembered,” it said.
A document released by the government on Monday invited initial expressions of interest (EOI) in the airline and set March 17 as the deadline for the submissions in a renewed attempt to sell the state-owned airline, after a similar move in 2018 failed to attract any bidder.