Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has criticised the strike by Air India pilots
, calling it "a cruel joke on tax payers".
"Rs 30,000 crore of tax payers' money is being used to save Air India. Taxpayers should have no objection to this provided they are convinced that Air India (pilots)
are also doing enough to save the airlines," he told reporters at a public meeting in Badgam.
"When pilots go on a strike against allowing pilots of the former Indian Airlines to fly new planes, it becomes a joke and that too a cruel one. Protest should have been on some concrete issue," he said.
About 160 pilots of Air India failed to join work on Tuesday, reporting in sick, leading to cancellation of international flights
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh termed their agitation "illegal"
, with airline sources saying the management has sacked 10 agitating pilots, derecognised their union and sealed its offices.
Sources said a more severe action was to follow if the pilots did not get back to work by 6 pm on Tuesday.
A section of Air India pilots are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner
training and matters relating to their career progression
.With IANS inputs