Indicating that the sacked pilots could be replaced by new ones, the Civil Aviation Minister said 90 pilots are currently undergoing training and would be available for flying in August
New Delhi: Virtually shutting the doors on the striking pilots of Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Wednesday said the sacked cockpit crew could return only if they applied afresh when the ailing national carrier advertised for inducting more of them, reports PTI.
"As far as we are concerned, the pilot's strike is over. If the (striking) pilots don't accept Dharmadhikari report which is part of the airline's turnaround plan, I don't think there is any point in their coming back... If terminated pilots want to come back, they will have to apply afresh," Singh told reporters in the capital.
His comments came on the 30th day of the agitation when the Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG) members staged silent marches in Delhi and Mumbai to press their demands relating to career progression, apart from reinstatement of their 101 sacked colleagues and restoration of recognition of their union.
Indicating that the sacked pilots could be replaced by new ones, Singh said 90 pilots were currently undergoing training and would be available for flying in August.
"We're making sure we have enough resources - pilots and engineers to operate the new flights we have planned," he said in reply to a spate of questions on the pilots' strike.
"They (pilots) have decided not to come back. They have trashed the Dharmadhikari Report" which recommended several steps for integration of the staff of the two erstwhile airlines post their 2007 merger, he said.
"Our stand is that the strike is illegal. The High Court has also said it. They also did not give notice (for the strike)... They are still welcome if they want to come back, but there should be no pre-condition," Singh said.
Maintaining that the truncated international schedule being operated during the strike had stabilised, Singh also announced that Air India would get three new Boeing 787 Dreamliners this month itself and unveiled new global operations plan, including starting of new flights.
Observing that Air India would soon advertise for taking more pilots and approach agencies to hire them, the Minister said, "It is up to them (striking pilots) whether they want to come back to work....They can always respond to the advertisements of Air India."
Asked whether more pilots would be sacked, he said "It is up to the management to decide whether they want to extend this action to others also." Over 200 pilots are on strike.
He also said there were "sufficient number" of pilots to fly the new B-787 Dreamliner planes.
Regarding the issue of compensation being sought by the national carrier from Boeing for delay in delivery of the B- 787s, Singh said the airline Board had moved a proposal after talking to the US manufacturer. "It will come up before the CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) soon."
Asked whether the government wanted to privatise or sell off Air India now or at a later date, he said, "At present, there is no such proposal and we are not considering it."
On AI's new global flight plan, he said it included starting of a new flight to Kuala Lumpur, using the B-787 on Mumbai-London sector from August one and launching of Australia operations from August-September with these new planes.
"By November (when Winter Schedule begins), Air India's international operations will be further expanded. With this, the entire original Air India network of 27 stations shall not only be fully restored, but expanded also," he said.
Flights to Hong Kong, Osaka, Toronto and Seoul, stopped when the strike began, would be restored over the next few months. Hong Kong would be connected by a narrow-body Airbus A-319 from July and this service would be extended to Osaka and Seoul from August one, Singh said.
After its induction, the first Dreamliner would operate on domestic routes for 6-8 weeks to train pilots for take-offs and landings, before it is used to operate Mumbai-London sector in August.
State-run RINL's issue was slated to hit the domestic market on 3rd July and kick-start the ambitious disinvestment process of the government for the current fiscal
New Delhi: Considering volatile market conditions, the Rs2,500-crore initial public offering (IPO) of state-run Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) has been delayed by at least three weeks on advice of its merchant bankers UBS Securities India and Deutsche Equities (India) that early July launch of the issue may not yield desired results, reports PTI.
"The RINL IPO has been delayed by three weeks. Merchant bankers for the issue have stated the government that time is not conducive now for the issue to hit the market due to the volatile market conditions. All proposed roadshows have also been deferred," a source in the government told PTI.
A top company official said the pre-marketing roadshows, which were to be started with Mumbai from Tuesday, have been cancelled for the time being, but department of disinvestment is yet to communicate the company any fresh time-line.
The RINL issue, was slated to hit the domestic market on 3rd July and kick-start the ambitious disinvestment process of the government for the current fiscal. The postponement of the issue is a bad start to the Rs30,000 crore disinvestment target that the government has set for the current fiscal.
"Merachant bankers are of the view that attempting the issue amidst the volatile conditions would not result in getting strong reception for the transaction," he said.
The successful journey of the issue in domestic bourses was critical for the government to line up other issues to meet the Rs30,000 crore target and aim to bring down the widening fiscal deficit.
The two merchant bankers of the issue -- UBS Securities India and Deutsche Equities (India) -- have recently suggested the government to delay the launching of the issue by three weeks with the hope that the domestic market would look up by then with the strengthening of rupee and softening of crude oil prices.
The BSE 30-share benchmark Sensex has dipped over 13% since 21st February on a volley of reasons including higher interest rates and poor showing of the economy in the backdrop of policy paralysis. The metal index also witnessed drastic fall during the same period.
In line with the earlier schedule, RINL had filed draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with the market regulator SEBI on 18th May and overseas roadshows to woo investors were to start from 21st June.
"The objects of the offer are to carry out disinvestment of 48.9 crore equity shares by the selling shareholder and to achieve the benefits of listing the equity shares on the stock exchanges. Our company will not receive any proceeds from the offer and all proceeds shall go to the selling shareholder," RINL said in the DRHP.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in January had approved disinvestment in RINL. The government aims to raise Rs2,500 crore by divesting 10 per cent stake out of its 100 per cent holding in the company.
The National Green Tribunal rejected IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Co's plea saying a rapid cumulative impact assessment study can be completed before the onset of monsoon
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has refused to stay its order suspending environment clearance granted to IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Company Ltd for its 3,600MW thermal power plant in the state's Cuddalore district, reports PTI.
The Tribunal rejected IL&FS' fresh plea for keeping its 23rd May order for suspension of the environment clearance (EC) in abeyance and to allow it to carry out construction works for the project.
The tribunal had suspended the 31 May 2010 EC on 23rd May this year and had directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review its decision based on a cumulative impact assessment study and stipulate additional environmental conditions, if required.
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) had sought a stay on the Tribunal's 23rd May order contending that preparatory civil works like construction of storm water drainage and levelling of the site must be completed before the onset of monsoon in mid September 2012.
The tribunal rejected its plea saying a rapid cumulative impact assessment study can be completed before the onset of monsoon and "civil works referred to by IL&FS may not take very long to complete if planned and executed properly".
"In view of the importance of cumulative impact study in decision making, in the case on hand and the logistic reasons with regard to completing the civil works, we see no reason to provide relief as sought in the application," a bench headed by Tribunal Acting Chairperson Justice AS Naidu said.