A group of banks decided to give the ailing Kingfisher Airlines Rs.60 crore on Friday. State Bank of India chairman Pratip Chaudhuri described the money, the bulk of which is expected to clear salary dues, as lending on “humanitarian grounds”.
It may seem odd to quibble about lending Rs.60 crore more to a company that owes banks thousands of crores. If a much bigger sum is already at stake, how do a few more pennies matter? It’s such steps that have made Kingfisher the disaster that it is today.
The wonder in all of this is the nature of Kingfisher as a company. It has made no profit in any quarter since its start. Yet, it has had no problem in managing its “external environment”—lenders, regulators, vendors and even the government have treated it with kid gloves. Only its “business model” has been doubtful. It’s time the carrier was brought to account.