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Updated: May 7, 2010 11:07 IST

Fix accountability for sabotaging AI merger, say unions

PTI
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In this file photo,a man walks in the backdrop of a parked Air India plane at the airport in New Delhi. AP.
In this file photo,a man walks in the backdrop of a parked Air India plane at the airport in New Delhi. AP.

A group of Air India unions today asked Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to fix the accountability on those who are “sabotaging” the airlines merger process and have led to a loss of Rs. 18,000 crores in the last three years.

Common Action Group (CAG), a group of unions of Air India—NACIL who have joined hands to save the national carrier, said that “accountability be fixed on those persons for sabotaging the merger process, propagating the rhetoric of de—merger and causing losses to the tune of Rs. 18,000 crores.”

The CAG, in a statement, alleged that some anti—Air India (NACIL) lobbies comprised well—established people opposed to the merger of AI and Indian Airlines. The merger took place in 2007.

“In a bid to keep alive the very ‘division’ of both the companies, they propagated that the merger was a futile exercise and that eventually there would be a ‘de—merger’

Following this, the integration went haywire — the process which would have been done in the first three months — could not be completed in three years,” they said.

The group claimed that some officials created divisions among the union by “consistently misusing their official positions and by giving recognition to splintered minority groups in the unions as against pro—merger majorities, they sabotaged the merger badly“.

“Initially, the consulting company informed that the airline would benefit around Rs. 832 crores by operational synergies alone in the first three months but even operational integration could not place and the company lost Rs. 7,200 crores in the first year, Rs. 5000 crores in the second year and the third year Rs. 5,400 crores. The cost of sabotaging the merger has caused the company a whopping Rs. 18,000 crores so far,” CAG said.

The group warned that if the rhetoric of ‘de—merger’ was allowed to be propagated it would lead to a loss of Rs. 36,000 crores.

Eleven recognised Air India employees unions are today holding a conference in a bid to save the airline which would be addressed by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam.

The CAG also attributed frequent change of CMDs in the last three years as a contributing factor which allowed the anti—merger conspiracy to deepen further.

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