House panel questions Centre on need for PPP in Delhi airport ops

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 3 2014, 21:02pm hrs
A parliamentary panel has asked the government to explain whether public interest was being served by the private-public partnership in the development and running of Delhi's IGI airport.

The Public Accounts Committee, in a latest report, virtually charged the government with enabling a private party (GMR) to benefit out of its partnership with state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop and manage the airport.

It asked the government to furnish the total earnings of the Delhi International Airport (DIAL) and that of the AAI to show "whether public interest was substantially sub-served" by the agreement with GMR-led DIAL.

The 22-member PAC, headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, also questioned the "unilateral right" of DIAL to extend the concession period for 30 more years and manage the airport for 60 years.

It sought to know "how this joint venture would pave the way for future airport development and modernisation in this country".

The report of the PAC, which reviewed the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on 'Implementation of Public Private Partnership -- Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi', would be tabled in Parliament in the upcoming session starting next week.

When contacted, a DIAL spokesperson said, "Since we are not privy to the report, we have no comments to offer." The Committee attacked the government for allowing the private partner to garner post-contractual benefits in contravention of the provisions of the 'Operation, Management and Development Agreement' (OMDA) with AAI.

The PAC criticised the government for allowing the private developer to charge a development fee from passengers "in contravention" of the provisions of OMDA.

It pointed towards discrepancies between the OMDA and the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act.