Kerala govt objects Centre’s move to hand over management of Thiruvananthapuram airport to pvt bidder

By: |
August 22, 2020 11:22 PM

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved the proposal for leasing out airports at Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram through public-private partnership.

Chennithala said the Union Government’s decision to award operations of the airport to a private group on a 50-year-lease amidst the Covid crisis ‘is a deplorable move’.Chennithala said the Union Government’s decision to award operations of the airport to a private group on a 50-year-lease amidst the Covid crisis ‘is a deplorable move’. (Representative image)

Kerala Government and most of the political parties have strongly objected to the Union Government’s decision to hand over the management and operation of Thiruvananthapuram airport to a private bidder .

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved the proposal for leasing out airports at Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram through public-private partnership.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising concerns on the unilateral decision that ignored Kerala’s requests that the airport’s management be transferred to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which the state government is a major stakeholder.

The Kerala CM in his letter stated that it would be difficult to offer cooperation in the implementation of the decision in view of the unilateral decision taken by the Government of India without giving credence to the cogent argument put forward by the state government.

The CM has requested for a reconsideration of the decision to lease out the airport under the PPP model for 50 years. He also pointed out to the PM that a petition against the move was pending in the Kerala High Court.

The letter states that the state government transferred 23.57 acres to the Airport Authority of India in 2005 for construction of the international terminal on the condition that the value of the land would be reflected as state government’s share capital in an SPV which would be set up.

Kerala CM also pointed out that the civil aviation ministry had assured in 2003 that as and when induction of a private player is considered, the Government of India will factor in the contributions made by the state government to the development of the airport.

Senior state Congress leaders, including KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran and leader of opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, have strongly opposed the decision.

Chennithala said the Union Government’s decision to award operations of the airport to a private group on a 50-year-lease amidst the Covid crisis ‘is a deplorable move’.

Interestingly, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor , who is the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, has backed the move. He said in a tweet that he would have explained his views to his colleagues if they had consulted him and that he was speaking in the best interests of his constituency.

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