New Delhi: Air India has announced a fixed amount of compensation for the kins of those Air India staff who died of COVID-19, but is tightlipped over the number. An internal circular said, “many employees of the company are getting COVID positive and some of the employees have also succumbed to the pandemic.” How many defines ‘some’? Air India spokesperson did not respond to PTI queries on how many employees have been infected and have died due to coronavirus.Also Read - 'Mumbai, Delhi And Other Big Cities Practically COVID-Free', India Asks UK to Review Travel 'Red List'

The circular comes at a time when the cash-strapped airline is embroiled in several controversies, including its decision to send some staff to compulsory leave without pay for five years. The airline has also opened its all offices from July 20 — without any special roster. Also Read - International Travel: Open Air Travel For Vaccinated Passengers, Says Global Airlines' Association

“To safeguard the interests of the families, it has been decided to make an ad-hoc payment to the family or legal heir of employees, who die during the period of COVID-19,” the circular said. Also Read - International Flights: Emirates Extends Travel Ban to UAE From India, 3 More Countries Till July 28

Families or legal heirs of permanent employees who die of COVID-19 will get Rs 10 lakh, the amount is Rs 5 lakh for fixed-term contract employees and Rs 90,000 for casual employees who worked continuously for one year.

If the worker was employed through a contractor or service provider, his or her family or legal heir will be paid an amount equivalent to the gross salary of two months, it said.

It stated that the ad-hoc payment circular will be applicable only for the period of the COVID-19 pandemic and shall be initially in force from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, subject to review thereafter.

According to the unions, coronavirus has infected 55 Air India pilots.

(With PTI Inputs)