Air India ‘Disinvestment’: TMC Stages Protest In Parliament


New Delhi: The All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs on Monday staged a protest in the Parliament premises against the disinvestment of national carrier Air India (AI).

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, who was also the Union Minister of State for Urban Development in the Manmohan Singh government, said Air India is the national asset and disinvestment shows that there is possibly a scam going on.

“The Parliamentary Standing Committee is discussing this matter and judging the issue in the house. Disinvestment is wrong and illegal and we are protesting against it, as they should do everything will full transparency but they are not doing it so,” he said.

The government had, on March 28, unveiled the plan to sell up to 76 per cent stake in Air India and transfer the management control to private players, thus kicking off the ambitious strategic disinvestment process for the debt-laden national carrier.

As on December 31 2017, AI’s authorised capital is Rs 300 billion divided into 30,00,00,00,000 equity shares of Rs. 10 each and its paid up share capital is Rs. 267 billion divided into 26,75,30,00,000 equity shares held by the President of India.

Air India has an operating fleet of 115 aircraft as on 31st December 2017, mainly comprising Airbus and Boeing aircraft such as A-319, A-320, A-321, B-747, B-777 and B-787 out of which 69 are owned / on finance lease, 24 are on sale and lease back model and balance are on operating lease.

“I’m sorry to read in the media about the government inviting expression of interest for selling Air India, the jewel of our nation. We strongly oppose this and want this order to be withdrawn immediately,” TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had said.

“This government must not be allowed to sell our country,” the West Bengal chief minister had tweeted, hours after the disinvestment plan was unveiled. TMC MP Derek O’Brien had also slammed the move.

“The proposed disinvestment of Air India is still being examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Transport Tourism & Culture. Stakeholders are being called. Views heard. Report still some time away. How come these moves from Govt (sic)?,” he had tweeted.

O’Brien, who is chairing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, has subsequently indicated through his tweets that the matter will be raised in Parliament, when the House resumes on Monday.

“Parliament reopens on Monday. This conversation about now needs to move beyond tweets. Let’s (sic),” he had tweeted.