By Shekhar Singh, Supriya Ramesh
New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS): The staff of aviation company Air India residing in Delhi's Vasant Vihar has urged the government to provide five to six acres of land in the 30 acre colony to the members at market rate where they can build their own township.
"We were facing salary delays and even cut up to 25 per cent before Air India was bought by Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of Tata Sons and now all of a sudden they want us to vacate the quarters," said the staff of aviation company Air India, residing in Delhi's Vasant Vihar.
"Neither did they (company) make other residential arrangements. Just asked us to vacate. Isn't it the company's responsibility to handle the issue and make prior arrangements," said a 41-year-old AI employee and resident of the colony.
The employees living in the colony sheltered 2,000 families initially, which later got reduced to 800 and is now home to only 250 families. Earlier, they had also requested the government and Air India for five to six acres of land in the 30 acre colony.
"As few families are now living here, we proposed a plan to them in which we requested five to six acres of land to be given to us as per the market rate and we will build our own township. But no one paid heed to our request," said another employee and resident, on condition of anonymity.
"What will the government do with this 30 acres of land? They cannot construct high rise buildings here as the underground metro route is beneath the colony. Why not sell it to us when we are also ready to monetise as per market rate," said the resident.
"The government and Air India are not even ready to know our problem. And that is the reason we had to go to the court to fight for rights. Now when we are fighting they are harassing and forcing us to vacate by snatching our basic amenities and deducting salaries," said a 48-year-old resident of the colony.
The AI employees even claimed that whoever had raised their voices against the company, they have been either transferred or given punishment postings. "Around 1,000 employees have left the company since it was taken over by the Tata group. They did not leave the company, when the airline was running at a loss and we were not getting salaries. Why now?," said an employee.
In January 2022, Tata took over Air India, and around 800 families of the employees living in the colony were told to vacate their homes. The employees living in society in Mumbai's Kalina faced the same direction as well.
The airline staff quarters were not part of the privatisation deal and was transferred to Air India Asset Holding Ltd, a government-owned special purpose vehicle set up to handle non-core assets and 75 per cent of Air India's debt.