Air India employees asked to vacate colonies by July 26
Nearly 2,000 employees of Air India (AI) have been asked to vacate the government-owned housing colonies in Delhi and Mumbai by July 26. In failing to do so, they would have to bear staff fines and lose out on retirement benefits. After the Tata Group won the AI bid in October last year, a notice was sent to the employees regarding vacating the colonies.
- The Tatas had set up the Tata Airlines in 1932 which was renamed Air India in 1946. However, the government took control of the airline in 1953.
- In October 2021, the government sold Air India to Talace Private Limited marking its return to Tata Group after 69 years.
- Despite the handover to Tata Group, the airline's non-core assets—like housing colonies—remain with the government.
Air India has two major housing colonies: one in Delhi's Vasant Kunj and the second in Mumbai's Kalina. In 2019, AI Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL) was created by the Centre to sell such non-aviation assets of the airline and monetize them to clear debts. According to the terms of the divestment with Tata Group, AI's non-core assets including housing colonies remain with the government.
Reportedly, AI issued an order on Wednesday (May 18) reminding employees to vacate the company accommodations latest by July 26 "in line with the decision of Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM), which has already been conveyed to them." To recall, in October 2021, the employees were notified to vacate staff colonies within six months of the disinvestment, which eventually happened in January 2022.
AI General Manager (industrial relations) Meenakshi Kashyap said employees overstaying in the Delhi and Mumbai colonies beyond the permitted period will be imposed with penalties of Rs. 10 and Rs. 15 lakh, respectively. They will also be charged twice the market rent for the entire unauthorized period of stay. This amount would reportedly be recovered from the employees' arrears or other accruable financial benefits.
AI's letter also said that in case employees fail to vacate the housing colonies within the stipulated time, the company would put on hold their retirement and service benefits or other financial benefits accrued. Such payments will be only released once the accommodations are "peacefully" vacated. "Any liable charges, penal rent or damage charges would be recovered" from the concerned employees, the letter added.