Speaking out for the first time since the controversy over Rafale Aircrafts broke, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) Employees Union said that the visit of Rahul Gandhi to HAL on Saturday is a political move and being employees of the ministry of defense, they will stay away from it.
Speaking to Republic TV, Suryadevara Chandra Shekhar General Secretary, HAL employees union also appealed to the Union Government to ensure that the 78-year old Public Sector Unit(PSU) is not abandoned and only fresh government orders for the Indian Air Force can save HAL from the fund crunch they are currently staring at.
The HAL Employees Union plans to write to PM Modi, detailing the contributions of HAL to wars in the past and also the role of HAL manufactured aircraft in saving the lives of civilians during natural disasters.
Suryadevara added that HAL has over 29,000 employees of which 20,000 are technical staff and if the government does not continue trusting HAL to manufacture fighter aircraft then it will be a case of a parent abandoning the baby. He went on to reiterate that HAL is capable of manufacturing Rafale or any other aircraft and questioning their capability, the experience is painful.
Reports have suggested that the balance sheets of HAL indicate that the PSU is currently only in a position to pay salaries of employees for the next three months. And confirming the report an employee said ‘It is a cause of concern that treasury is reducing but are hopeful that the government will give us orders. Board are directors are looking into scarcity of funds and getting more orders from GoI will help us along with the recovery of balance to be paid from Air Force will help the bank balance’.
This comes amidst obfuscation over Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s visit to HAL in Bengaluru on Saturday where he had planned to meet HAL employees. But there is no clarity on who has organised this meet and whether current employees will be part of the ‘Samvad’ planned by Congress President.