Chopper pilots from Pawan Hans continued their standoff against the management for a second day yesterday. Around 58 pilots refused to take to the skies, grounding eight choppers for a second day running causing the company to accrue losses of approximately Rs 70 lakh.
On Monday, around 58 pilots belonging to the Pawan Hans Pilots’ Guild (PHPG) went on strike saying they would not resume their job till their demands were met (‘Pawan Hans pilots won’t fly till demands are met’). Reacting to the strike and in an attempt to resolve the issue, top officials including the chairman flew out from Goa to Delhi for a meeting, which was scheduled to be held at 9 pm on Tuesday.
Commenting on the strike, M Sreekumar, general manager, western region, Pawan Hans, said, “We suffered a loss of approximately Rs 70 lakh today, as eight choppers scheduled to fly remained grounded. However, we want to resolve the issue soon and hence arranged a meeting with the pilots’ guild.”
Captain RK Mahajan, the general secretary of PHPG confirmed that no flights had operated yesterday owing to the strike. “The choppers didn’t fly, as there is no authorised person to brief the pilot before taking off. We aim to come to a common conclusion and get back to our duties. Since the management called us to resolve the matter, we are hoping for the best.”
Pawan Hans’ pilots also fly sorties to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) offshore rigs. However, owing to the flash strike, no chopper was flown to the rigs, resulting in losses for ONGC too. However, when MiD DAY approached ONGC, an official who did not wish to be named said that it wasn’t true.
“I don’t know who is spreading this rumour that ONGC suffered monetary losses. We always have back-up plans according to which we approached a private company and are managing with a chopper each for the western and eastern regions,” he said, adding that if the strike persisted for a longer period, ONGC’s logistics and productions would be affected. “However, as of now, the situation is completely under control.”
The PHPG went on strike on Monday in order to protest against flying to Naxal-affected areas, flying for longer hours and not having an authorised person brief them before their flights.
Approximate number of pilots that went on strike from Monday