Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: Air India

MPs and Air India

Our MPs forget they are representatives of people and not their lords and masters. They demand privileges they do not deserve. Their demand for red beacons atop their cars in Delhi was rejected by Sonia Gandhi. Now comes the news that demand for special treatment of MPs made through House Committee of Lok Sabha is accepted by Air India and Airports Authority of India. A committee member said MPs are not even provided minimum basic facilities.

Air India is making loss and after spending thousands of crores of rupees to keep it going another 30,000 crore rupees will be spent in the coming years. Privileges for MPs will make Air India’s survival more difficult.

As per proposed protocol Airport managers are required to meet MPs when they come to the airport and provide them helpers till they enter the plane. While in plane air hostesses and stewards have to meet MPs and offer them compliments of the captain. After the plane departs the airport manager has to inform about MPs to the next airport manager who has to receive them and provide helpers. When the flight ends the commander has to file reports about MPs.

MPs should be treated like other passengers. What do they mean by minimum basic facilities? If they do not get something other passengers also do not get them. If they demand to be treated differently than other passengers they are demanding privileges and not minimum basic facilities.

Airport managers, airport employees and cabin crew have enough work and they should not be burdened with doing favours to MPs. AAI and Air India employees should protest against the protocol. There is talk of austerity. Most Indians travel long distance by train. Air travel for MPs should be disallowed and they should travel by train. MPs behave life nobility in France before French Revolution. If they do not improve a revolution with Reign of Terror and guillotine is possible in India.

Economic Traitor

Praful Patel is an economic traitor. As civil aviation minister his actions have led Air India to loss and disaster.

There was Indian Airlines. Praful Patel changed its name to Indian. That did not make any difference for better. Then Indian Airlines was merged with Air India. The merger was supposed to save money. Things went from bad to worse.

Air India suffered. Private airlines prospered. For months some of them did not pay fuel bills. During IPL Air India passengers had to wait for hours as scheduled flights were delayed to fly IPL teams.

When private airlines increased fares Praful Patel did not tell passengers to fly Air India. He told private airlines to reduce fair and threatened them if they did not do so. What is Praful Patel’s problem if private airlines charge “astronomical” fares? Why cann’t Air India use this opportunity? Air India could have gained. It needs thousands of crores of rupees to keep going.

Praful Patel has asked for extra 3,500 crore rupees for Air India and has warned of strikes by Air India employees if wages are recast. Air India has an accumulated loss of 7,200 crore rupees and working capital loans of around 18,000 crore rupees. Praful Patel is responsible for the mess. He should warn the employees that if they do not agree for recasting of wages Air India may be wound up. Some years back air traffic controllers who created problems by strike or work-to-rule were sacked. Former employees of Air India should not have perks.

People’s money should not be wasted on Air India. If there is no possibility of improvement without spending further money it should be privatised or wound up. Employees who go on strike can find jobs somewhere else. Praful Patel should not continue as minister.

Bureaucrats and freebies

Bureaucrats decide what freebies they should get when they are in service and after retirement. This leads to unjustified entitlements.

Air India survives on bail out money. Civil Aviation Ministry’s decision to grant free ticket upgrades and security passes and access to VIP lounges to former secretaries and their family members is an unjustified decision. The argument that it is a justifiable privilege considering the contribution made by secretaries is hollow. Secretaries are paid for their job and get pension after retirement. They did not do any favour or charity. Considering that Air India survives on bail out money if there is any contribution by secretaries it is in ruining the airline and turning airline’s profit into loss. It is another question whether our airports should have VIP lounges. In a democracy when all are equal how can anyone be a VIP?

Recently PMO objected to Civil Aviation Ministry’s decision. The possibility of bureaucrats in other ministries raising similar demands was a reason for objection. PMO should look into privileges enjoyed by present and former bureaucrats and the ministries should abolish freebies.

Our MPs want whatever bureaucrats get. The demand to raise salary of MP to Rs.80,001/- p.m. was because bureaucrats get Rs.80,000/- p.m. Bureaucrats were exempt from paying toll. MPs demanded that exemption and got it. MPs will demand every privilege given by every ministry to its present and former bureaucrats and cost for the country will be huge.

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