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PMO steps in as Jet cancels international flights

Jet Airways is in the midst of a severe liquidity crisis that has affected its operations. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday (April 12) stepped in to assess Jet Airways’ financial situation as the cash-strapped airline suspended its international operations till the weekend after further reduction in its fleet size. The day’s developments surrounding…

PMO steps in as Jet cancels international flights

Jet Airways is in the midst of a severe liquidity crisis that has affected its operations.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday (April 12) stepped in to assess Jet Airways’ financial situation as the cash-strapped airline suspended its international operations till the weekend after further reduction in its fleet size.

The day’s developments surrounding the financially challenged airline came after it cancelled even domestic flights, leaving passengers stranded at various airports.

Even the airline’s unpaid employees were upset, which led to an employees’ association asking the Mumbai Police to register a case against the company’s founder and former Chairman Naresh Goyal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vinay Dube and State Bank of India (SBI) Chairman Rajnish Kumar.

In New Delhi, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola met PMO officials towards the evening to update them about the situation of the cash-strapped airline.

Kharola later told reporters that the government has advised the airline not to compromise on safety in any manner.

He said that currently Jet Airways is operating only 11 planes and has suspended its international operations till Monday afternoon.

Kharola further said that on Saturday, the airline will operate only six to seven aircraft.

According to the officer, Jet Airways will approach the lenders on Monday for interim funding.

“They (Jet) have suspended their international operations till Monday afternoon. They have approached them (banks) for interim funding and on Monday they will approach the banks again,” Kharola said.

“Today only 11 planes are flying. Tomorrow it’s going to be 6 or may be 7 planes,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu had directed Kharola to review the issues concerning the airline and take required steps to minimise passenger inconvenience.

On its part, the airline said it has cancelled all international operations from April 12 to 15.

“…the airline’s management and its key stakeholders, including its consortium of lenders, continue to work closely towards resolving the current situation,” a Jet spokesperson said in a statement.

A day before, the airline decided to halt West-bound international departures after it was left with only 14 aircraft from around 120 last year, triggering speculations over its survival as a lengthy stake sale process continued.

The airline on Thursday (April 11) operated only about 14 aircraft, down from 26 last week, inviting government scrutiny over Jet’s regulatory compliance for international flying.

As per rules, an airline needs to have a minimum of 20 aircraft to be eligible to operate international flights.

Till recently, the airline operated 26 aircraft, including Airbus A330s, Boeing 777s, 737-800 and ATRs, to various destinations like London, Toronto, Singapore, Amsterdam, Paris, Bangkok and domestic sectors like Mumbai-Delhi, among others.

Jet owns 16 out of these 26 aircraft.

In another development, the employees’ association of Jet Airways asked the Mumbai Police to register a case against the company’s founder and former Chairman Naresh Goyal, CEO Vinay Dube and SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar.

The All India Jet Airways Officers & Staff Association in its letter to Mumbai Police said: “We call upon you to register offence under cheating, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation and other offences against the Chairman, the CEO, the representative of the State Bank of India (Bankers) as per specific provisions of Section 405 and 409 and other related Sections including 420 of the Indian Penal Code.”

The association urged the Mumbai Police to investigate the matter on an urgent basis and said that the Jet Airways staff will be forced to express their solidarity through constitutional means, including “calling for a strike under the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act”.

Besides the employees, the airline’s aircraft lessors too are upset with the current financial situation, with some of them requesting the DGCA to de-register their aircraft leased to the company.

The de-registration request section on the DGCA website showed on Friday that lessors have applied to de-register 19 aircraft owing to unpaid dues. However, some lessors have also withdrawn their de-registration requests. 

Jet Airways is in the midst of a severe liquidity crisis that has affected its operations and resulted in the grounding of several of its aircraft.

The latest developments came on a day when the submission deadline for expression of interest (EoI) bids from prospective buyers for a stake sale in Jet came to an end.

At present, the airline owes over Rs 8,000 crore to a consortium of lenders led by the SBI.

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Heatwave kills 45 in India in 24 hours, over 100 hospitalised

The government has issued a heat alert in the wake of the rising death toll. Severe heatwave left at least 45 people dead and more than 100 hospitalised in the past 24 hours in Bihar, officials said on Sunday. Deaths due to the heatwave were reported from Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada districts. Gaya and Patna…

Heatwave kills 45 in India in 24 hours, over 100 hospitalised

The government has issued a heat alert in the wake of the rising death toll.

Severe heatwave left at least 45 people dead and more than 100 hospitalised in the past 24 hours in Bihar, officials said on Sunday. Deaths due to the heatwave were reported from Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada districts.

Gaya and Patna recorded temperature above 45 degree Celsius on Saturday.
Aurangabad civil surgeon Dr Surendra Prasad Singh confirmed 27 deaths due to the heatwave till late Saturday night. “Dozens are being treated for it in different hospitals,” he said.
Gaya District Magistrate Abhishek Singh confirmed 14 deaths, while another district official confirmed five deaths in Nawada. In both the districts, more than 60 people are being treated for heatwave.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the deaths and announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the victims.
The government has also issued a heat alert in the wake of the rising death toll and advised people to take care while going outside during day time.

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Suman Rao from Rajasthan wins Miss India 2019

Shivani Jadhav clinched Femina Miss Grand India title and Shreya Shanker won Miss India United Continents title. Suman Rao from Rajasthan has won the Femina Miss India World 2019 beauty pageant during a star-studded ceremony at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai. Shivani Jadhav from Chhattisgarh clinched Femina Miss Grand India 2019 title and…

Suman Rao from Rajasthan wins Miss India 2019

Shivani Jadhav clinched Femina Miss Grand India title and Shreya Shanker won Miss India United Continents title.

Suman Rao from Rajasthan has won the Femina Miss India World 2019 beauty pageant during a star-studded ceremony at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai.

Shivani Jadhav from Chhattisgarh clinched Femina Miss Grand India 2019 title and Shreya Shanker from Bihar won Miss India United Continents 2019 title during the grand finale of the beauty pageant on Saturday.
20-year-old Suman, a college student, will represent India at Miss World 2019 in Thailand.
“When you get yourself determined towards a particular goal in life, every single nerve and fibre of your body starts working into that direction for a victorious journey,” she said in an interview.
The prestigious event was adjudged by Bollywood choreographer Remo D’Souza alongside actress Huma Qureshi, Chitrangada Singh, fashion designer Falguni Shane Peacocka and Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri among others.
During the event, film stars like Katrina Kaif, Vicky Kaushal and Mouni Roy enthralled the audience with their dance performances.
The event was hosted by the Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar and actor Manish Paul.

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Hong Kong leader suspends extradition bill

Lam said she would “adopt a sincere and humble attitude in accepting criticism” over the government’s handling of the issue. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Saturday (June 15) that she has suspended indefinitely a proposed extradition bill that sparked the city’s biggest public protests in years. Lam told reporters she took the…

Hong Kong leader suspends extradition bill

Lam said she would “adopt a sincere and humble attitude in accepting criticism” over the government’s handling of the issue.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Saturday (June 15) that she has suspended indefinitely a proposed extradition bill that sparked the city’s biggest public protests in years.

Lam told reporters she took the move in response to widespread public unhappiness over the measure, which would enable authorities to send some suspects to stand trial in courts in mainland China.

Many in the former British colony worry it will further erode cherished legal protections and freedoms. Lam said the government would study the matter further, for the “greatest interest of Hong Kong.”

“After repeated internal deliberations over the last two days, I now announce that the government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise,” Lam said.

“I want to stress that the government is adopting an open mind,” she said. “We have no intention to set a deadline for this work.”

Lam said she would “adopt a sincere and humble attitude in accepting criticism” over the government’s handling of the issue.

Lam made the announcement as another mass protest was expected on Sunday, after clashes that turned violent on Wednesday, leaving about 80 people injured including 22 police officers.

The standoff between police and protesters in the former British colony is Hong Kong’s most severe political crisis since the Communist Party-ruled mainland took control in 1997 with a promise not to interfere with the city’s civil liberties and courts.

Lam, chosen by Beijing to be the highest-level local official, is caught between her Communist Party bosses and a public anxious to protect the liberties they enjoy as a former British colony.

She had previously refused to withdraw the bill, and many protesters are demanding she quit.

Protests died down late in the week, but around midnight Friday there were still dozens of youths singing and standing vigil near the city’s government headquarters, where demonstrators had tussled with police who deployed tear gas, pepper spray, hoses and steel batons as thousands pushed through barricades.

Police said 11 were arrested. Lam declared that Wednesday’s violence was “rioting,” potentially raising severe legal penalties for those arrested for taking part. In past cases of unrest, authorities have waited months or years before rounding up protest leaders. In April, nine leaders of a 2014 pro-democracy protest movement known as the “Umbrella Revolution” were convicted on public nuisance and other charges.

Prior to Saturday’s announcement by Lam, some members of the Executive Council, Hong Kong’s cabinet, said she should perhaps rethink plans to rush the bills’ passage. A group of former senior government officials issued a public letter urging her not to force a confrontation by pushing ahead with the unpopular bills.

Many in Hong Kong fear the measures would undermine the former British colony’s legal autonomy.

More than 1,000 people joined a peaceful “mother’s protest” Friday evening in a downtown garden.

Adding to tensions, the extradition bill has drawn criticism from US and British lawmakers and human rights groups, prompting Beijing to lash back with warnings against “interference” in its internal affairs.

Anson Chan, a former chief secretary for Hong Kong, said on Friday (June 14) that Lam still could keep her post if she backs down.

“What the people are attempting to tell is that we are very worried about the consequences of passing the extradition bill, because no one will feel safe, even in their own beds, after passage of this bill,” Chan said in an interview.

“It places everybody’s individual freedom and safety at risk,” said Chan, who as chief secretary was the top local civil servant under former British Gov. Chris Patton.

 

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