(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 02, 2008
UPA Govt's Disdain For Aam Admi Exposed, Yet Again
THE Manmohan Singh government's favour for big corporates and disdain for aam admi was once again sharply brought into focus by the CITU on the issue of bail out for private airlines, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines.
In a letter to the prime minister on October 24, 2008, CITU secretary Dipankar Mukherjee scorned at the government's bailing out the so-called “cash strapped” private airlines by giving a relief of about Rs 2000 crore through deferred payment to public sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). He contrasted this to the government's stubborn resistance of the demand to bail out the aam admi of this country from the high prices of petroleum products of diesel, petrol and LPG in view of the more than 50 per cent drop in global crude oil price. This refusal was based on the plea of publicly declared losses and officially termed “under recoveries” of public sector OMCs.
Expressing shock over this blatant bias towards private corporates, Mukherjee pointed out that these private airlines also reportedly owe a huge amount of more than Rs 1000 crore to Airport Authority of India (AAI), another PSU, which is yet to be recovered. The CITU leader demanded a thorough investigation by CAG or a government appointed agency to examine the financial performance of both M/s Jet Airways and Kingfisher before any relief of any kind is extended by the government.
Demolishing the myth of these private airlines being “cash-strapped”, a gloomy picture consciously promoted by the minister concerned with liberal help from sections of media, Mukherjee drew the prime minister's attention to the financial highlights of Jet Airways.
“The salient features of the financial highlights of the 2nd quarter of financial year 2008 as projected in the company’s website are as follows:
Financial highlights of Jet Airways –Q2 FY08
•Total Revenues of INR 22.5 Billion; Up 26% over Q2 FY07
•Profit Before Tax of INR 425 Million; Up 159% over Q2 FY07
•Profit After Tax of INR 284 Million; Up 151% over Q2 FY07
•Revenue Passengers carried 2.63 Million; Up 6% from 2.49 in Q2 FY07
•Achieved Seat Factor of 66.8%; Up from 63.5% in Q2 FY07
Mukherjee wrote “You will agree that under no stretch of imagination the above results can be construed as that of a company under deep distress, warranting immediate help from the government or government owned companies unless the company’s financial results are also fudged. It is quite likely a detailed analysis of balance sheet and financial transactions of both M/s Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines would reveal the real picture.
“You will agree doling out relief from either the government or the government-owned companies without any scrutiny and only on the basis of media hype created by the minister concerned is totally unwarranted and against the public interest.”