Public sector oil companies on Thursday issued an ultimatum to Air India, asking it to make the monthly lump sum payment by October 18, failing which fuel supply to the national carrier at six airports will be stopped, PTI reported.
In a letter sent to Air India, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited said: “The outstanding has not come down considerably in the absence of the committed monthly lump sum payment.” PTI said it has accessed the letter.
The oil marketing firms had earlier said that Air India owed Rs 5,000 crore in unpaid fuel bills with payments being delayed by almost eight months. On August 22, the three firms stopped fuel supply to Air India at the Kochi, Mohali, Pune, Patna, Ranchi and Vishakhapatnam airports. However, fuel supply was restored on September 7 following intervention by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
On October 4, the oil companies had told Air India that they would stop fuel supply from October 11 if it did not pay. On Thursday, Air India wrote to the public sector firms, asking them not to halt fuel supply.
The oil marketing firms replied on the same day, stating: “While we are in receipt of your letter dated 10th October, 2019, requesting OMCs against stoppage of fuel supply, it has been observed that no timelines have been mentioned with respect to the lump sum payment. However, taking into consideration your request, we are deferring our decision to suspend supplies to October 18, 2019.”
The airline’s debt, which stood at Rs 55,000 crore at the end of March 2018, grew to Rs 58,351.93 crore at the end of March 2019. The government had last year attempted disinvestment from the debt-ridden airline. In September, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said the process of privatisation of Air India is “truly underway”. Puri made the remarks following the first Group of Ministers meeting on the Air India crisis.
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