Air India cancels 10 flights as pilot's stir enters eighth day

According to a medical summary issued by the airline, most of the its pilots, who called in sick, were neither found at home by doctors sent by Air India nor reported to doctors empanelled by the carrier

New Delhi: As the stir by over 200 Air India pilots entered the eighth day on Tuesday leading to cancellation of 10 international flights, government said the DGCA will take action against those who have falsely reported sick and not joined work, reports PTI.

Air India cancelled around 10 international flights from Delhi and Mumbai this morning. "We have, as part of our contingency plan, operated Delhi -Toronto, Delhi-New York routes, and hope to operate more flights tonight," an Air India spokesperson said.

With a medical summary issued by the Aviation Ministry stating that most of the AI pilots, who called in sick, were neither found at home by doctors sent by the airline nor reported to doctors empanelled by the carrier, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will take action against them.

"I and you don't need any medical teams to ascertain they are sick. If they have reported sick but were found fit or not found at their houses as reported in the aviation ministry's medical summary, then the DGCA will take necessary action against them," Mr Singh told reporters.

The pilots have been calling in sick and not reporting for duty in protest against rescheduling of training programme of Dreamliner and issues related to their career progression.

According to the medical summary, about 48 out of the 53 Delhi-based pilots who reported sick were not found at home. Their residences were found locked and their mobiles unreachable.

Nine out of 18 outstation pilots, who were staying at Hotel Hyatt, complained of bad stomach and backache but doctors found them medically fit. Of the 53 homes visited by doctors, 12 were found locked.

When doors were opened, the medical teams were given unclear information.

The Minister said the pilots have the right to go on strike, as employees may have some grievances. "They should have discussed with us, why have they chosen to go on a strike during the peak vacation season."

Meanwhile, seven Air India unions in a letter to Mr Singh have sought an end to the standoff between pilots and management.

Seeking Mr Singh's intervention, the AI unions of engineers, cabin crew, commercial staff, ground staff have blamed the merger for the ongoing crises.

The joint forum of AI Service Engineers' Association, AI Aircraft Engineers' Association, AI Officers' Association, AI Cabin Crew Association, AI Employees' Union, AI Engineer's Association and Air Corporation Employee's Union have also offered to mediate.

"At this juncture, of total deadlock, we plead your esteemed office to be proactive and if required, we are ready to offer our services under your direction to be mediators between the Civil Aviation Ministry/Air India Management and the Indian Pilots Guild," they said in the letter.

The unions held the merger responsible for the present mess. "...the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines resulted into failure. A series of strike notices and two disruptions (last year's ICPA strike and the ongoing IPG agitation) are the outcome of the ill-conceived merger," the letter said.


IPL governing council to have tele-conference on fixing issue

Shalabh Srivastava of Kings XI Punjab, Mohnish Mishra of Pune Warriors, TP Sudhindra of Deccan Chargers and Amit Yadav of Kings XI Punjab are the players shown in the sting operation by the TV channel

New Delhi: Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will have a tele-conference this afternoon to discuss the television sting operation which claims to have blown the lid off "murky deals" in the cash-rich T20 league, reports PTI.

IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said strict action would be taken if any player is found to be involved in spot-fixing.

Top BCCI officials have already started discussing the issue among themselves amid indications that stern action could be taken against a few players who are shown in the TV sting operation.

"The IPL Governing Council will discuss the issue. We have asked for the tapes. We will study the tapes and then take a decision", a top BCCI source said.

A TV channel yesterday claimed to have blown the lid off "murky deals" in the IPL among players, organisers, owners and big guns of Indian cricket, prompting the BCCI to warn that stringent action will be taken if the report is found to be true.

The channel, India TV, claimed it had done a sting operation in which many players confessed on hidden camera they get much more than their prescribed auction under the table.

According to the channel, its operation also revealed that spot-fixing is not only prevalent in IPL but also that first class matches are fixed and women played an important role in match-fixing.

Asked about the sting operation, BCCI chief N Srinivasan had said, "We will ensure that the integrity of the game is protected. BCCI believes in the integrity of the game. We will take the strictest possible action. We will have to have the tapes and the moment we see it, whoever is the player, we will take very very strict action."

"If there is any truth in it... It is a fact that we will take strictest action. Even if it means suspending the player immediately. But (that has to be) based on some evidence and fact, for which I have asked the COO of IPL Sundar Raman to request for the tape," Srinivasan said.

The BCCI said it will seek "complete footage" of the 'sting operation' and examine it thoroughly.

BCCI's chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said the entire incident was very disturbing and the Cricket Board would take strong action against any player found to be guilty.

Kings XI Punjab player Shalabh Srivastava, who is one of the players shown in the sting operation, vehemently denied any wrong-doing and threatened to take legal action against the channel.

"If they are showing all the video clips, why are they not showing that I have demanded Rs10 lakhs from them. Whatever they are is not my voice. You know its very easy to doctor anyone's image and put their names and run it", Mr Srivatsava said.

"I will definitely file a case against them (the channel)", he said. "I had just seven or eight meetings with them, and they introduced themselves as a sports management people. They told me they can help me to shift to some other franchisee where I can be paid better."

"I am not the only one to meet them, I can tell you they have met at least 50 IPL players. I myself have talked to 15 such players about the issue. They all were doubtful that whether they are from a sports management company or not because they always used to talk about fixing and who is getting how much money," Mr Srivatsava said.

Mohnish Mishra of Pune Warriors, TP Sudhindra of Deccan Chargers and Amit Yadav of Kings XI Punjab were the three other players who were shown in the sting operation.


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