Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which represents the pilots of pre-merger Air India, warned that they would not undertake flying duties from April one if their dues were not cleared
New Delhi: Protesting delayed payment of salaries and allowances, a section of pilots from Air India on Wednesday warned they would not undertake flying duties from April one if their dues were not cleared by then, reports PTI.
The Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which represents the pilots of pre-merger Air India, has shot off letters to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and others saying that a large number of its members had written to it that "financial distress" could "adversely affect" their ability to safely discharge their duties and endanger lives.
Hence, its members "will be unable to operate flights on and after April 1, 2012, unless the management clears all the dues", IPG President Jeetendra Awhad said in the letter sent also to Air India CMD, Civil Aviation Secretary and Director General Civil Aviation.
Subtly seeking to distance itself from the proposed agitation, he said "in the interim, we will do our utmost to convince our members to exercise calm and restraint. However, given the financial distress facing them, we are unable to provide any assurances to that effect".
Mr Awhad sought the "urgent intervention" of the two Ministers and others in resolving the issue at the earliest.
The dues comprise basic salaries from December last year till February, Layover Allowance from December to March and Flying Allowance from November to February, the IPG said, adding "this amounts to withholding approximately more than a quarter of the yearly emoluments", causing "tremendous hardship" to its members.
This is the second time this year that Air India pilots are showing signs of unrest over delays in salary payments.
In January, pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilot's Association of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots had gone on a two-day 'no-pay-no-work' agitation, leading to severe flight disruptions. They returned to work after assurances that their dues would be cleared by March. They had gone on strike last year as well on the same issues.
There was no immediate official comment on the matter from the government or Air India.
Maintaining that several pilots came from "humble background and modest means", the IPG said these members had written to it that "non-payment of dues for an extended time period has caused them significant financial hardship and psychological stress."
They have also "written to us that they are undergoing severe psychological stress as financial institutions and banks are hounding them in order to repay their loans" and they and their families have "suffered humiliation" for loan defaults.
"You will certainly appreciate that in order to ensure the safety of passengers and the crew, a pilot is required to maintain the highest level of alertness and concentration.
"Clearly under the current situation, it is very likely that the safety of Air India's flight operations may be compromised, potentially endangering the lives of passengers," the IPG President said.
"While we appreciate the financial distress facing the company, however, unlike Air India which can turn to the central government for funds, employees have no such option," he said.
Whether the industries vying for mining lease were contributing for the country should be taken into consideration before granting mining lease, the Tata Steel MD feels
Jamshedpur: Tata Steel's Managing Director HM Nerurkar on Wednesday said there should be change in allotment of mines policy and mine lease should be granted first to industries engaged in value addition, reports PTI.
"From the top of my voice, I have been demanding for drastic change in the allotment of mines and the prevailing auction of mine blocks (coal blocks) exist nowhere in the world except India," Mr Nerurkar told newsmen in reply to a question.
Whether the industries vying for mining lease were contributing for the country should be taken into consideration before granting mining lease, he suggested.
He said industries engaged in value addition downstream and creating jobs should get mining lease first.
Nobody was bothered about the mining sector, especially iron-ore, till early 2000, but spurt in activities was witnessed with the booming of the industrial sector after 2003-04, he said.
He suggested that small players in the mining sector should form co-operatives for smooth functioning of the sector.
Referring the private steel major's proposed steel plant in Karnataka, he said negotiations with the Karnataka government were in the final stages. "But we are not yet sure about the nature of land to be allotted to us."
UIDAI is currently working under an executive order as the Bill was rejected by the Parliamentary panel in view of lack of proper groundwork, unjustified cost, and instance failure of such exercises in other countries
New Delhi: The government will introduce a bill during the Monsoon Session of Parliament to give legislative powers to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to facilitate its work relating to collection of biometric data of residents.
"We will bring it [UIDAI Bill] in the next Monsoon Session of Parliament instead of the forthcoming Budget Session," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told PTI.
The Commission, which is providing administrative support to the Authority, has been asked to draft the Bill that would provide legal sanctity to the UIDAI. The authority is currently working under an executive order.
"In the Budget Session, there are other things, that have to be done. It is not a big decision. We have lots of things to do like annual Plan discussions [with states]. We don't want to be pressurised [with too many engagements]," he said.
Earlier the bill for providing legislative powers to the authority for collection of biometric data and issuing unique identification numbers to all residents, was put off by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance headed by former Finance Minster Yashwant Sinha in December.
The bill was rejected by the Parliamentary panel in view of lack of proper groundwork, unjustified cost, and instance failure of such exercises in other countries.
The UIDAI has recently wriggled out of a row, that continued for a year between Planning Commission and Home Ministry.
While the Home Ministry had raised doubts over the authenticity of data collected by UIDAI, the Planning Commission pitched for the project arguing that it was required for inclusive development.