Uncertainty looms large over the fate of the beleaguered national carrier, as Air India (AI) pilots have been on strike for over 50 days now, making it the longest running pilots’ strike in the last four decades. And there’s no end in sight to the ongoing stalemate following the alleged lack of interest on the government and the airline management’s part to strike a compromise.
On the negotiation front, nothing much seems to be happening as the Civil Aviaition Minister Ajit Singh has gone on a personal foreign tour, while the CMD of the airline Rohit Nandan has obliquely indicated that he doesn’t have much power.
Aneet Dhillon, wife of an agitating pilot Captain Aditya Dhillon, said, “It seems they aren’t concerned about the state of the airline and the condition of the pilots.
Ajit Singh says fasting is good for health. This statement reflects how serious he is about the whole issue.”
The pilots are on an indefinite hunger strike for the past six days, and their family members too are fasting with them. They held a protest march and even met Nandan on Thursday evening. “During the meeting, he (Nandan) showed some concern but he did not make any commitment. All he kept saying was ‘I will pass your message’. The message was clear that he would pass on the message to the aviation minister who is holidaying in London,” said Captain Vikash Mahendru’s father, Colonel (retd) Arun Mahendru.
Mahendru, who was among the six parents who met Nandan after the protest march, added, “In such a situation, the civil aviation minister has gone on a foreign tour. This shows how concerned he is about the issue.”
Nandan told MiD DAY, “I referred it to government of India, which is the owner of the airline. The government had intervened during the earlier strikes as well.” Asked if he meant that he would pass on the message to Ajit Singh, Nandan said, “He is not here, hence I’ll communicate the details of the meeting to the aviation secretary.”