As Air India was struggling to stay afloat, its employees faced uncertainty around their jobs and were also at risk of being evicted from their homes in the airline’s residential colony. By end of 2021, they were threatening to go on a strike over notices to vacate the accommodation provided to them, but months later hopes for Air India were revived as the Tata Group took over the carrier. But trouble hasn’t ended for employees of the debt-laden airline, since the government wants the Air India staff to be charged for overstaying at the coloby, by their new employer Tata.
Government using land to pare losses
The state may have sold the airline itself to Tata Sons, but the Vasant Vihar colony among other properties aren’t part of the divestment deal. The government, which received a Rs 18,000 crore bid for Air India from Tata, seeks to pay off the remaining part of the Rs 60,000 crore debt by selling the residential land. According to reports by the Economic Times, the state wants salary deductions as high as Rs 95,000 a month, which is likely to deprive many employees of their entire monthly pay.
Air India staff standing their ground
More than 50 employees had also approached court against the eviction notices, and many of the residents of the Vasant Vihar seek an extension on their stay till their children clear board examinations. The civil aviation minister is reportedly planning to move forward with the eviction scheme, even though the matter is in court. Apart from Delhi, residents of Air India’s colony in Mumbai’s Kalina had also been asked to leave or face penalties as high as Rs 15 lakhs.
Some employees have even alleged that the government had deprived residents of water supply in a bid to force them to vacate.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)