Saturday, October 19, 2019

For 15,000 at Air India in Kalina, this election is about their colony homes

Mumbai: For residents of Air India and Indian Airlines Colony in Kalina, the only relevant detail in any political party’s agenda for the assembly polls is the one about the fate of their residential quarters. With Air India en route to being privatized, the question is what happens to the quarters allocated by the national carrier to the 15,000-odd residents of these colonies. The airline occupies184 acres of land which formerly belonged to government-owned Airports Authority of India, but has now been handed over to GVK, which runs the Mumbai airport.
“AAI used to pay a rent of Rs 14 crore a year to AAI, which was increased to Rs 24 crore in 2007 when GVK took over. AI has given a commitment to hand the land over to GVK in a phase-wise manner. In turn, GVK was to construct a multi-storey building to house these residents who currently live in colonies spread across 50 acres. But with Air India being privatized,it remains to be seen what happens to the agreement. The residents are rather apprehensive,which is why we are relieved to have an aviation insider contesting the elections,” said an AI official, a resident of the AI Colony.
That is where the candidature of George Abraham, general secretary of Aviation Industry Employees Guild, comes in. Abraham, also a former corporator, is contesting on a Congress ticket. The battle for Kalina constituency, with 2.30 lakh voters, will largely be between Abraham and sitting MLA and Sena candidate Sanjay Potnis.
19/10/19 Times of India
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