New Delhi, May 15 (IBNS): The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Tuesday moved a privilege notice against Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh for making policy statements on troubled national carrier Air India outside the Parliament during the ongoing session.
CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia told reporters: "We have tabled a notice of privilege against the Civil Aviation Minister in the House and demanded that he come and explain why he made policy statements on the issue outside when Parliament is in session."
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shahnawaz Hussain earlier said the notice would be moved against Singh in the Lok Sabha as he committed breach of privilege.
Th Lok Sabha witnessed heated debates over the issue on Tuesday as opposition leaders, including Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Basudeb Acharia and Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta, criticised Singh for making policy statement on Air India in the media when the Parliament was in session.
The Opposition leaders also demanded to know the steps the government was taking to end the ongoing Air India pilots' strike.
Singh earlier told NDTV: "I believe in the existing world you do not need to have a national carrier."
Passengers continued to suffer as the Air India pilots' strike entered its eighth day on Tuesday.
According to reports, at least 10 international flights were cancelled from Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday.
The government said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will take necessary action against those who did not join work by falsely reporting sick.
"I and you do not need any medical teams to ascertain that they are sick. If they have reported sick but were found fit or not found at their houses as reported in the aviation ministry's medical summary then the DGCA will take necessary action against them," Singh told reporters.
Air India on Monday extended its bar on bookings for flights to the U.S. and Europe till Thursday as the strike by some of its pilots completed a week with no signs of a breakthrough and causing a reported nearly Rs 150 crore in losses.
The airline, which had stopped taking bookings for flights to North America and Europe till Tuesday, extended the period till May 17 due to the strike by over 200 pilots over salary and job promotion disputes, airline officials said.
The pilots have refused to sit at the dialogue table after withdrawing the strike as urged by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.
The Air India Board, which met in New Delhi on Monday, expressed serious concern at the mounting losses due to the strike and added that the pilots protest has led to a loss of around Rs 150 crore for the airline, media reports said.
The strike was on Wednesday last declared illegal by the Delhi High Court and Air India filed a contempt of court application in the Supreme Court against the pilots.
However the Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain the plea, instead advising the flag carrier to talk with its pilots to sort out differences.
Ajit Singh met the Prime Minister on Friday and apprised him on the stand-off.