New Delhi: Operators of Delhi and Mumbai international airports are squabbling with state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) over the compensation they need to pay to thousands of workers who did not join the airports after privatization four years ago.
Under the 2006 agreement, Delhi International Airport Pvt. Ltd (DIAL) and Mumbai International Airport Ltd (Mial) were responsible for compensating some 60% of the total AAI employees if they did not join the private airports by 2009. Less than 5% agreed to work for the two when the deadline ended.
Pending baggage: Of 2,237 AAI employees only 141 chose to join DIAL by 2009. Payment to majority of remaining workers is yet to be made. Sanjeev Verma/HT
DIAL, a GMR Infrastructure Ltd-led consortium, and Mial, led by GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, were asked to pay around Rs209 crore and Rs214 crore, respectively, to AAI in April 2009.
But DIAL, which runs the Indira Gandhi International Airport, had paid only Rs80 crore by the March 2010, two AAI officials who did not want to be named said. Mial, which operates the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, had paid only Rs154 crore, they said.
A Mumbai airport spokesman defended the delay. “After implementing the VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) scheme last year, AAI was to provide us with complete and final details of quantum payable based on employees’ numbers. We are still awaiting these details,” the spokesman said in reply to questions.
Mial wants to make a staggered payment, he added. “Also, a part of the VRS component is payable to its employees over a period of 10 years, which AAI wants us to pay upfront, which we have contested. We are in discussion with them on this issue.”
The Delhi operator also confirmed the delay in payment.
“DIAL is currently in discussion with the Airports Authority of India to finalize the issue of VRS payment of the AAI employees formerly stationed at IGI Airport,” a DIAL spokesman said.
It is not clear if the 2006 agreement allows for staggered payment running over a decade.
“We had been raising the issue; they have finally agreed to pay. They have asked us to firm up the amount,” one of the AAI officials quoted above said.
The authority is likely to give the private operators a final amount in the next few months.
Since only a few AAI employees choose voluntary retirement, calculating the final compensation, which runs up to 20 years for some employees and includes their eventual cost-to-company through pay revisions, is taking time. “It could shoot up or go down depending on that,” the official said.
As Mint reported in April 2009, of the 2,394 AAI employees at the Delhi airport in 2006, 157 retired, were removed from service or died between then and March 2009. Of the remaining 2,237, only 141 workers chose to join DIAL. Similarly, in Mumbai 160 of at least 2,400 people accepted the Mial offer.
Shares of GMR Infrastructure rose 0.91% on Friday to Rs66.60 each on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the GVK Infrastructure scrip gained 0.22% to Rs45.25. The bourse’s benchmark index, Sensex, rose 0.32%.