Despite receiving an eviction notice, the staff of Air India refuse to vacate their Company-provided quarters, saying they wish to stay on in these flats till retirement unless other arrangements are made for them to stay.
The disgruntled employees organised a protest rally against the Government’s attempt to get them to surrender their flats.
The eviction notice was sent by the Adani Group’s Mumbai International Airport (MIAL).
Post privatisation, hundreds of Air India employees —including engineers, ground staff and other personnel — residing in 1600 staff quarters in Kalina, were asked to give up their flats.
In 2021, Air India had given these employees six months’ time to vacate these houses, which were given to them in lieu of house rent allowance, and are conveniently located not far from the airport.
It is only because of the closeness to the airport that the staff are able to make it to the airport on time for duty, despite the infamous Mumbai traffic snarls and heavy rains during the monsoons. The support and cooperation of these employees situated close to the airport was invaluable during the lockdown too, as they were the ones working with the cargo flights that were transporting medicines and protective equipment within and outside the country.
These quarters are almost seven decades old, with the original lease having expired over 30 years ago and not renewed ever since. The land they were built on belongs to the Maharashtra government, and was given to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on lease. Later, it was leased out to MIAL, which is now part of the Adani Group.