New Delhi : The number of people below the poverty line has risen by 7000 in the first three months of 2012. Disclosing this at a press conference, Deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia said it was distressing that all of them belonged to the same company – Kingfisher Airlines.
“It is unfortunate that all Kingfisher employees are not even earning Rs 28.65 per day,” said Ahluwalia. “We know the company is passing through turbulent weather. But what I am more annoyed about is that Vijay Mallya has completely messed up my report card. I had told you the last time we met that the number of poor in this country is coming down. Now what do we do with these 7000 new entrants.”
Employees of Kingfisher Airlines have not been paid salaries for four months now and last week, Mallya told half of them to stay at home, even though they will continue to be on the rolls.
“We cannot let them go hungry. I have spoken to the Prime Minister to try and accommodate them under MGNREGA. But I am not sure if the employees will agree to that,” said Ahluwalia.
Ahluwalia however, clarified that Vijay Mallya does not come under the BPL. “We have information that he is using the credit card to make purchases,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has announced that he will visit the home of a Kingfisher employee over the next one year and eat dinner at his or her place.
In a statement, Vijay Mallya has condemned Mr Gandhi’s plan and has accused the Congress of trying to show that he does not care for his employees. He has asked Kingfisher staffers to write to him at email@example.com if they want to lodge an official complaint.