Companies & Sectors
Debt-ridden Kingfisher promises to pay staff salaries soon

Kingfisher Airlines CEO Agarwal, while admitting that he himself have not received his salary, said the carrier will clear all pending salaries of its staff in next few days

 
New Delhi: A day after declaring a partial lockout, top officials of beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines on Tuesday met chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and promised to pay salaries of the staff held up for last six months in the next few days, reports PTI.
 
Sanjay Agarwal, chief executive of KFA along with its executive vice president Hitesh Patel met DGCA chief Arun Mishra. Agarwal blamed a small section of employees for the mess, saying it had led to suspension of all operations till 4th October. The airline has stopped sale of tickets till then.
 
Agarwal briefed the DGCA about the financial problems facing the crisis-ridden carrier as well as the next steps being taken to restore normalcy.
 
"We have shared the steps which we are going to take in the next few days with the DGCA. We have explained our position to DGCA," Agarwal told reporters after the meeting.
 
Regarding pending salaries, he said, "we will clear the pending salaries in the next few days. I myself haven't got the salary." 
 
Kingfisher has been saddled with a huge loss of Rs8,000 crore and a debt burden of another over Rs 7,000 crore which it has not serviced since January.
 
Several of its aircraft have been either taken away by its lessors or grounded by the Airports Authority of India for non-payment of dues during the past few months.
 
Over 80 pilots and 270 engineers have been on intermittent strikes over the past few months, saying they had not been paid salaries since March this year.
 
The latest agitation launched by the engineers, supported by pilots, began on Friday.
 
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today made it clear that the airline would not be allowed to fly if safety was compromised.
 
"We will have to look at what their plans are....we will take a decision after reviewing the situation," he said.
 
Singh had yesterday suggested that since Kingfisher engineers were on strike, the airline could get its aircraft certified for flying by other certified engineers.
 
Following this, the airline, which has a fleet of Airbus aircraft, was understood to have initiated discussions with Air India and IndiGo to utilise their certified engineers to check their fleet. However, no firm agreements have yet been arrived at, airline sources said.
 
The Kingfisher officials informed DGCA that they would resume operations from Friday, sources said, adding that the aviation regulator wanted to be "fully satisfied" with their operational parameters.
 
It asked the airline to "explain their operational preparedness" again when they resume flights as safety was of prime concern, the sources said.
 
Kingfisher is understood to have initiated talks with "a couple of airlines" on putting in investments, sources in the know said, adding that the entire process would take two-three months to fructify.
 
Kingfisher is also understood to have informed DGCA that it has been in talks with the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to de -freeze its bank accounts to enable them pay the salaries.
 
About Rs60 crore were stuck in these accounts, which would go a long way to clear salary and other dues, sources said.
 
The airline officials have also informed the aviation regulator that some Indian banks have offered to help it out, but only after the company finds fresh investors and gets investments.
 
The airline has been operating seven Airbus A-320s and three turbo-prop ATRs to fly about 80 flights daily.
 
In a statement late last night, the Vijay Mallya-owned private carrier said it has been forced to declare a "partial lock-out" following a series of "protracted and unabated incidents of violence, criminal intimidation, assault, wrongful restraint and other illegal acts" by some employees.
 
The airline said, "the action by the recalcitrant employees who have regrettably chosen to take law into their own hands forcing a complete paralysis of operations were all unnecessary and unprovoked."
 
"It has been decided that flight operations will be suspended for the next three days, i.e. until 4th October," it added.
 
The airline also claimed that "a vast majority of the staff are willing to cooperate and support the company in these turbulent times." 
 
The agitators had yesterday met top airline officials but did not get any assurance about salary payments.
 
A representative of the striking engineers who was part of the meeting had said, "we had a long meeting with the CEO (Sanjay Aggarwal) but no solution has come out. Rather he threatened a temporary shutdown saying the company did not have funds to pay salaries even for a month."
 

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COMMENTS

rajeshpai

4 years ago

What bunkum!!Where was violence from staff??Also criminal intimidation.White lies from the well paid PR machinery.

The staff have been regularly and repeatedly assured that their salaries will be paid soon.And that day never comes.What has been the sacrifices that Dr Vijay Mallya has been making while his staff are squeezed for months??He continues to enjoy his champagne and caviar at Monaco alright.He is the King of Good Times you see.Poor chap has to struggle to keep up that image to impress foreign airlines to invest in his Great company.

And the poor staff are suckers for such promises.Anyone who is able to find a job has been leaving.Mind you passenger safety is given a go-by with qualified and experienced people abandoning the ship.

Cannot understand how passengers are still buying tickets to fly with KFA.Height of optimism.
It is time KFA is closed down, which has been a product of bad management and promoters lavish lifestyle.
Let banks insist that Dr Mallya sell his personal shares in UBL or United spirits to infuse capital before banks can even talk to him.

Digital cable TV: Here are monthly charges of DEN, Digi Cable, Hathway and WWIL

Cable TV operators would charge a minimum of Rs100 to Rs275 per month from providing digital cable services, that is mandated from 31 October in four metros

 
New Delhi: The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has said four major national level (MSOs) had come out with rates for consumer packages for digital cable television, reports PTI.
 
Officials of the ministry said this was a major step towards achieving digitization of cable sector for which the government has set a deadline of 31 October 2012 for the four metros.
 
The MSOs which have announced the prices are DEN, Digi Cable, Hathway and WWIL.
 
Digicable has announced a basic category under which they would provide 145 channels for Rs180 and a Gold segment in which 151 channels will be shown for Rs200. In the Premium category, 165 channels would be shown for Rs250.
 
Another MSO, the Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited has offered a basic package of 135 channels for Rs160 and a Medium segment of 198 channels for Rs220. In the Premium segment, it offers 242 channels for Rs275.
 

DEN offers Packs 1, 2 and 3 categories for Rs180 (112 channels), Rs225 (219 channels) and Rs270 (235 channels), I&B statement said.
 
Another MSO, WWIL has announced a Janta package of 118 channels in Rs100. WWIL has also announced Popular 1 (Kolkata) category which offers 151 channels, Popular 2 (Mumbai) which offers 153 and Popular 3 (Delhi) which offers 142 channels. All three packages are priced at Rs150.
 
The ministry said that as per TRAI's stipulation, the Basic Service Tier (BST) consisting of at least 100 channels should be offered for Rs100 and MSOs were expected to uphold this direction.

 

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COMMENTS

Zafir Akhtar Khan

6 months ago

Sir
Den cable opretor ko MQ power kab milta hai,

JAYARAMA NONDA

2 years ago

In MANGALORE, Viewrs Choice Cable TV Operator charging Rs:280pm even few Chennels are distorted and broken hence unable to view. He does not issue any bill or receipt. In fact he does not have a TIN or Service Tax number. He also not a Authorised LCO or MSO as per TRI. He does not attend to complaint with in 8hrs. He wants full payment for nothing unsatisfactory service. He disconnected my supply with out due notice. His Collection moves around the Apts with his Mafiaman.(recorded in CCTV)
Any solution or remedy?. There is no other operator in this area except Tatasky. Kindly advice
<[email protected]>

Mahendra Tomar

2 years ago

The proper receipt is also not provided for rs.260/-per month Thanks.

Benu Kumar Bose

2 years ago

The cable TV operators are charging more as we donot get correct information. For example how much he should charge for the second TV is not known. He charges full.He charges Tax on all bills.Please intimate who can give correct information.
Bose.09433766567

vipin pandey

3 years ago

I just to; say whose channel u give if I recharge 180 rupees....

faruque ismailmagdum

3 years ago

Dear sir,

whether there any criteria if selected channel wise payments to pay cable operator.our cable operator showing only two channel and demand full channels payments..is it fair?
please suggest
my name faruque magdum

REPLY

MDT

In Reply to faruque ismailmagdum 3 years ago

Thanks for your comment.
As per TRAI directions, cable operator has to show 100 free-to-air channels (including Doordarshan) in its basic service tier. Kindly check http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/Con...
In addition, you can file complaint against the cable operator before the TRAI.

Issue small, fallout fearsome!

A military veteran laments the government’s apathy towards the Indian armed forces with respect to pension and the lack of leadership could turn out to be disastrous

The issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP), for the military services, has been heating up for a long time. More recently, India has seen its 2.3 million ex-servicemen—the most disciplined and law-abiding class in our society—having to publicly protest and return their medals, with petitions signed in blood, to draw government’s attention. Unlike their Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and other civil services brethren, military services soldiers do not have ‘Associations’ to hold rallies and demonstrations to express their grievances. Ex-servicemen (or ex-military services personnel) are, therefore, neither used to nor temperamentally inclined to make public their woes—a virtue the nation must respect. Yet, if an increasing number of them are now resorting to such methods, it must become a cause of concern for the government.

 

The arguments citing burden on the national exchequer and risk of triggering similar demands from other central civil services are unfair and unjust because there is no similarity in the job profiles of civil and military services. The rationale behind such rival claims would, therefore, be grossly faulty and scantily-clad mischief aimed at perpetuating the ongoing neglect and systematic suppression of the military and its retiring/retired soldiers. There are ground realities that further reinforce the genuineness and urgency of not only the grant of OROP to the ex-servicemen but also the importance of restoring the lost dignity, morale and well being of the nation’s muscle power—Indian Armed Forces:

  1. Significance of Military ‘Rank’: The hierarchy of military leadership is based upon visible badges of rank and embellishments on the uniform worn by officers and JCOs/NCOs (Junior Commissioned Officers/Non-Commissioned Officers). All professional and social protocol of inter-action is governed by the status and authority carried by respective rank, in the hierarchical order. Legally and traditionally, the Armed Forces personnel carry their rank even on retirement, as a legacy, whereas in the active military service no junior can get more salary than his senior in the same rank. This equation is, ironically turned upside down, as we have juniors retiring later getting more pension than their seniors who retired earlier in the same rank. It is ridiculously embarrassing besides being unjust in every respect.
     
  2. Serving and Retiring at a Loss: The majority of jawans and officers retire 10 to 20 years earlier than their civilian brethren, thereby losing service benefits, pay and allowances of higher ranks for those many years. The necessity to maintain a youthful military profile leads to jawans and JCOs retiring when they are still in the age group of 38 to 48 years and officers at 50, with their kids still too young and parents too old, with expanded family responsibilities. Civilians, on the other hand, get to serve up to 60 years and retire happily after reaching their final pay bands, with their children well settled and life’s basic commitments largely accomplished. These harsh terms and conditions of service results in heavy financial loss at the most crucial stage of a soldier—when he needs financial security most. Since almost all civil government employees reach their final post/pay band, they naturally retire having earned highest pension scale in their stream, which virtually translates to a more remunerative deal than the OROP demanded by ex-servicemen!

Accordingly, if military personnel chose to invoke the “principle of equity”, they should rightfully be demanding the highest pension grades in the corresponding running pay band of sub-major in respect of JCOs/OR (other rank) and the final scale of Senior Administrative Grade (SAG)/Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) (Major General/Lt General) in respect of officers since similar dispensation is in vogue for civil services.

  1. Unequal Career Growth Options: Whereas nearly all civilians make speedy career advances, in secure environs of their pre-specified state cadres/deputations and reach their highest rank/pay bands, the majority in the Armed Forces (jawans and officers) find themselves out of job even though they fulfil the laid down criteria for career advancement/promotions.  A look at this career contrast: While over 90% of the IAS officers reach secretary/additional secretary level and none retires below joint secretary rank, only 0.02% of the Armed Forces officers make it to Army Commander level, 0.15% to other Lt General levels (Corps Commanders and others) and only 0.4% to Major General level (even after the recent cadre enhancement!). Because of the constricted pyramidal organisational structure of the Forces, a large number of competent officers fully eligible for higher ranks have to be wasted out every year. Caught in a whirlpool of systemic adversity, large numbers of qualified officers get neither their deserved pay nor pension.  Likewise, the majority among jawans too reach no further than Honorary Havildar level, whereas almost all lower division clerks (LDC) in central services and all constables are assured to retire at least as Section Officers and sub-inspectors respectively reaping highest returns until and after 60 years of age. Military personnel obviously deserve to be appropriately compensated for the losses they are suffering due to early retirement and short-changed dispensation due to restricted career opportunities, early loss of job and resultant loss of salary and pension.
     
  2. ‘Unique’ Service Conditions: Forfeiting their fundamental rights our jawans and officers not only serve in extremely hostile terrain and climate but also spend the better part of their lives separated from their families with no guarantee of even weekly holidays and festivals. From fighting at the world’s highest battlefield where hostile terrain and weather claim more lives than from enemy fire, to operating in jungles and deserts far away from the comforts of civilisation, soldiers lead an unusually tough life which is unseen and unimagined in normal civil life. These extraordinary service conditions make the Armed Forces uniquely distinct and incomparable with any other Service in the country. Recognising this uniqueness of the Defence Services, the government has already decided to have a separate pay commission for the Armed Forces in the future (as announced in the Lok Sabha by the defence minister on 13 July 2009). The crucial details as to how such a pay commission would be constituted and how equal to or independent of the other the central civil services pay commission it would be have not yet been made public.
  1. Nation’s Last Resort: In spite of the back-breaking economic recession, it is primarily because of its superior military might that the United States is in a position to assert its will and authority, coercively, over any country in the world, disregarding dissent, if any, from any power in the world. It is through a credible military deterrent that a nation’s diplomatic and political strides find meaning and gives the economy its protective cover. Few countries have used their military might more than India to defend borders and maintain order. With a history of four wars since Independence, incessant insurgencies and expanding terrorism, India should be imparting lessons to the world on the importance of maintaining a powerful and motivated military. The government and the people alike have always turned to Fauj (Armed Forces) for speedy solutions—from Siachin to Arunachal to Kanyakumari, for anything too serious or too dangerous i.e. natural calamities, epidemic, riots, disruption of essential services, failure of civil administration and even for salvaging the national honour in fiascos like the CWG footbridge collapse. Others raise their hands, stand aside and watch. But has the Fauj ever belied nation’s faith in its Armed Forces? Their failure, God forbid, if ever so it were, would be a national disaster.

The treatment being meted out to the Armed Forces in India has hurt serving and retired soldiers alike. A calculated and systematic method is seen clearly at work in degrading the position and prestige of military ever since the Fourth Pay Commission.  Every successive pay commission has pushed Armed Forces a few notches below their deserved niche. The way the Ex-servicemen’s demand for OROP proves that there are anti-military forces aggressively at work to deprive soldiers and ex-soldiers of their genuine dues. In all fairness, bureaucrats found guilty of delaying and denying military dues and entitlements must be severely dealt with and even prosecuted for their inefficiency and anti-national outlook. This must be particularly ensured in cases where the political leadership and/or the higher judiciary have ruled in favour of the military. The case in point is the ex-servicemen’s demand for OROP, which has been long lost in bureaucratic machinations despite its non-controversial character and unanimous support from all parties that have ever deliberated over this demand. It is clear from the following facts on record:

  1. Grant of OROP has been repeatedly recommended by successive Parliamentary Committees over the years.
  1. Nearly all major political parties, including Congress and the BJP, have supported the long pending OROP demand in their election manifestoes. The UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi has, on record, declared her support in favour of ex-servicemen on this score in her public utterances and media interactions.
  1. Observations and directions passed by the judiciary (including the honourable Supreme Court) in a number of cases relating to disparity in pay & pension of ex-servicemen have favoured removal of disparity on this issue. An anguished Supreme Court has gone to the extent of admonishing the authorities for treating soldiers/ex-soldiers like ‘beggars’.
  1. The committee headed by the cabinet secretary found it hard to refute the legitimacy of OROP demand. However, while the committee largely accepted the essence of the demand in respect of the JCOs/OR or Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR), in the case of Commissioned Officers, it stopped just short of according parity between pre and post 01-01-2006 pensioners. (Statement of AK Antony, minister of defence in the Lok Sabha on 13 Jul 2009). Confounding the simple issue, the committee’s convoluted recommendations, at best, halved the injustice to officers by introducing an absurdly misleading idea “modified parity” as if there could be such a thing as “modified truth” or “starve & enjoy”!

Unfortunately, a skewed impression has been created about the genuine requirements of the serving and retired soldiers as if these were nothing more than their welfare demands.  The seriousness of repercussions of such distorted views, in weakening the vitals of our national defence, is indeed grave because the nation’s defence potency will be only as strong as the motivation of its soldiers. Their well-being must, therefore, be viewed as national imperatives and not merely questions of their welfare. Since every serving soldier is a future ex-serviceman, repercussions of decisions on issues like OROP directly affect the psyche of fighting soldiers as well. The simmering disgruntlement among the soldiers and ex-soldiers raises serious questions on the state of morale and motivation of our Armed Forces. Nothing can be more perilous for a country than an impoverished leadership in the wake of continuing government apathy towards a demoralised military on basic issues such as OROP.

 

(The author is a military veteran and author of two international bestseller books on Leadership Development.)

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COMMENTS

M G WARRIER

4 years ago

A well articulated and gracefully presented article on an issue which should get the attention of GOI at the highest level. Let me keep on record that there are other more serious dangers waiting, like gradual dilution of the pension scheme itself for armed forces(when New Pension Scheme was introduced for central government employees through back door in 2004, defence forces were excluded with an adjective ‘initially’ or some similar sounding word). The country is being taken for a ride by the present BPL(Businessmen-Politicians-Lawyers) leadership. One wishes sane advices like that contained in this article (this is not a prayer, it is a rightful demand and so I would like to call it an advice and not a plea) opens the eyes of those who can guide the powers that be.

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