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|July 14, 1998||
RS debates NRI invitees on Air-India board, clears purchase of 52 aircraft
Rajya Sabha Chairman Krishan Kant rejected the Opposition demand for setting up a House committee to look into the various aspects leading to the appointment of three Non-resident Indians as permanent invitees on the Board of Directors of Air-India and Indian Airlines.
Civil Aviation Minister Anant Kumar also stated that the Aircraft Acquisition Committee has cleared the acquisition of 30 aircraft and 22 50-seater aircraft for operating on feeder routes.
While turning down the demand for a committee during question hour, the chairman, however, agreed to Kumar's suggestion for constituting a departmental inquiry into the issue which will submit the report in this session of Parliament.
Krishan Kant said once the report is submitted to the House, further action can be considered.
He also reprimanded the minister for quoting profusely from the official notings, which in normal course should not have been done.
The Opposition expressed its dismay at the chairman's ruling and continued to insist on the constitution of a House committee.
However, he firmly said, "I have given my ruling."
The minister said that it was for the first time that NRIs were appointed as special invitees to the Board of Directors. This decision was reversed by the present government soon after coming to power on April 27.
Former civil aviation minister Chand Mahal Ibrahim, defending the appointment of NRIs on the board, said the present government should not politicise the issue. He was supported by Saroj Dubey who said that NRIs were of great value to Air-India and Indian Airlines.
The minister informed the House that the Airports Authority of India earned a revenue of Rs 47.12 million during 1997-98 from the six airports in Madhya Pradesh, namely, Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur, Khajuraho, and Raipur.
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