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At Air India Colony in Delhi’s Vasant Vihar, residents allege bid to force them out

Jaba Sen, resident and general secretary of the resident welfare association, claims water supply to colony was stopped

Delhi water supplyWater supply has been discontinued and other basic amenities have been hit at the Air India (AI) Colony in Vasant Vihar. (Representative image)

Water supply has been discontinued and other basic amenities have been hit at the Air India (AI) Colony in Vasant Vihar, in a bid to put pressure on residents to vacate the colony, those living there have alleged.

Jaba Sen, a resident and general secretary of the resident welfare association, said, “The water was stopped yesterday evening; it was done once earlier too. They locked the pump and went away.”

“We had to bring drinking water from outside,” she said. “Even the security has been decreased from around 15 people each in two shifts to just four people to guard 350 families.”

She also claimed the lift operator has been removed, and residents don’t know what to do in case someone gets trapped in case of a power cut.

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“We hold AIHCL (Air India Assets Holding Limited) responsible for it; we are ready to do what the court orders,” she said.

Air India has two major housing colonies — in Delhi and in Mumbai

The government had earlier asked around 2,000 AI employees living in the airline’s staff colonies at Vasant Vihar in Delhi and Kalina in Mumbai to vacate their official accommodation by July 26, 2022, which was six months after AI’s divestment, or face penalties. The residents had moved court against the order.

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AI was handed over to the Tatas in January. The government had decided on August 9 last year that the employees could continue staying in the company’s residential properties after the divestment “for six months or till the property is monetised, whichever is earlier”.

Around 350 families live on the 32-acre land. Of the 800 flats in the area, around 350 are occupied, Sen said.
“Many people have, in the past few weeks, left because of the pressure that money would be deducted from their provident fund, ” she claimed.

Another resident, Madhu, claimed: “There are blood pressure, sugar and cancer patients here. Police and local politicians intervened after which water was given but there has been no permanent solution.”

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CMD of AIAHL Vikram Dev Dutt did not reply to queries on the issue.

Residents said there are two cases in the Delhi High Court related to the colony. “One is of the engineering department staff. Since the department is still with Air India, they are asking why they are being asked to leave.

Another case is of the remaining employees who are now employees of Tata, who claim that though their employment status has changed, the space is of the government so they should be allowed to stay,” said a resident. The next hearing is on October 10.

First published on: 05-10-2022 at 07:14:03 am
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