Petroleum minister takes on colleague, Jet Airways

October 16th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Petroleum minister Murli Deora Thursday lambasted his counterpart in the aviation ministry for saying he was not helping the airlines industry, and then Jet airways for laying off hundreds of employees.“I am disappointed and hurt by Praful’s comment,” Deora told reporters, referring to aviation minister Praful Patel’s comment that he was disappointed with the “finance minister and petroleum minister for not helping the aviation industry”.

Deora said he had always instructed oil marketing companies to find ways to help the aviation industry, adding: “When I came to know about the letter from the oil companies (cutting back on extended credit to airlines), I told the oil companies that we must find a way to give them credit”.

According to petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey, Jet Airways owes Rs.8.59 billion and Kingfisher Airlines Rs.1.1 billion to Indian Oil Corp (IOC).

“This money has not been paid in spite of giving them a credit of 60 days,” Deora said, adding that the airlines also should stick to their commitments and pay oil companies.

The minister said he would shortly set up a meeting between Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal and IOC chairman Sarthak Behuria.

He also said the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was linked to taxes, which fell under the purview of the finance ministry and state governments.

According to him, ATF prices will be revised by the month-end.

Deora also had the Jet Airways in his cross-hair Thursday for sacking 850 employees and saying it would sack 1,150 more. He said the “timing of the decision was in bad taste”.

“This is not the right time to retrench people, particularly before Diwali… I do not approve of such a move and you cannot just do such a thing,” he told reporters.

“I will appeal to Naresh Goyal to please not resort to such extreme steps,” Deora added.

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