Concern in Parliament over AI pilots strike

New Delhi: Concern was voiced in Parliament today over ongoing strike by Air India pilots which has been going on for two weeks with members alleging that the extreme "arrogance" by the government was not helping resolve the matter even as the national carrier had lost Rs 300 crore.

Nishikant Dubey (BJP) raised the matter during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, saying the government was not acting even after Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told the House several days back that talks would be held with the striking pilots. Dubey said while he was not justifying the strike by the pilots, they alone were not at fault for it as circumstances needed to be looked into. He said implementation of Dharamadhikari Committee and a proposal to set up a Civil Aviation Authority was pending even while the government was pumping in money to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore as turnaround plan.

Pilots should be called for talks immediately, the BJP member demanded. In the Rajya Sabha, BJP members raised strong objection to the Government`s attempt of not holding a discussion on the functioning of Civil Aviation Ministry despite the matter being listed for over a fortnight and sought the Chair`s intervention in holding it during the current session itself.

Rajiv Pratp Rudy (BJP) said even though a discussion on Civil Aviation Ministry`s functioning is listed in the business of the House, it is being positioned in such a way that the same is not taking place. "Is this House a lesser House," the former Civil Aviation Minister questioned, alleging that it was a "deliberate act" on the part of the Government to ensure that the discussion on Civil Aviation Ministry does not take place.

Rudy pointed out that the Lok Sabha has already discussed the issue. "This is complete anarchy…This House does not have the privilege of holding a discussion," he said. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal intervened to say that the government had agreed to hold discussion on functioning of four ministries, but said the same could not be taken up as opposition members have been pressing for other important discussions.

"This is not the first time that we have not been able to hold a discussion on a ministry`s functioning," said Bansal, adding that a lot of legislative business could not be taken up…. We are prepared for a discussion on that." Later, when several BJP members stood up in support of Rudy, Chairman Hamid Ansari said, "As far as the Chair is concerned, the discussion on Civil Aviation Ministry is listed in today`s business."