The Kannur airport maybe a long way to becoming a reality but careers are already taking off. The project has turned a cash cow for influential leaders to reward their friends and relatives.
The Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) has promoted the son of a senior CPM leader as junior project engineer, giving him a hike of Rs 10,000 against all norms. Another employee’s salary has been increased to Rs 2 lakh thanks to his proximity to a honcho of the company.
The KIAL director board has approved the promotion and the pay raise as recommended by the human resources sub committee, in which the CPM leader is a member.
son joined the KIAL as a junior executive on contract in September 2015. He was taking home a salary of Rs 20,000.
He has been promoted to junior project engineer with retrospective effect from September 2016.
The company has also decided to give him the dues for seven months. The promotion within a year is in violation of a norm that requires a person to serve for three years in a post before being eligible for promotion.
KIAL has also promote three other junior executives who joined along with the leader’s son. They will also get a raise with retrospective effect.
Meanwhile, about 15 junior project engineers and assistant managers who have been working on the project for more than five years have received only nominal hikes of up to Rs 1,000. Their salaries vary between Rs 35,000 and Rs 39,000.
Some of the office staff take home a fatter paycheck than engineers with five years of experience, thanks to their connections with the people in power.
An official in the finance section has seen his pay rise by Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The phenomenal rise has set eyeballs rolling as the airport is yet to start functioning.
KIAL managing director V Tulasidas said the rise was recommended earlier. He said the rise was within limits. “We did not just promote four engineers,” he said, referring to the CPM leader’s son.
“We just made them junior project engineers to rectify a situation in which only they were working as junior executives. We have taken into account their educational qualifications and their experience, including in the KIAL. Their salaries have been increased to Rs 30,000 and they have been given dues from October 2016.”
Tulsidas said that the board has been recommended to form a panel of three independent members to consider the revision of pay and service terms of the other engineers.
Some of the employees who have been working with the project from its early days are even planning to put in their papers to protest their sidelining.