Kerala CM flays takeover of Thiruvananthapuram Airport by Adani Group
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday criticized the takeover of Thiruvananthapuram Airport by the Adani Group, saying it is not for the development of the facility but to protect the interest of monopolies. "An appeal regarding the transfer of airport was pending before the apex court. The Centre violated its assurance given to the state in this regard," Vijayan told the State Assembly.
Airport employees staged protest to express unhappiness over the decision
The CM's sharp reaction came a day after the business giant signed the concession agreements with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) at Delhi for the management, operations, and development of the Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, and Jaipur airports. Airport employees also staged a protest in front of the office of the Director in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday against the takeover.
Centre wants to create monopoly in aviation: Vijayan
"The management of the airport is being handed over to a group which has no prior experience in it. The Centre's stand is to create a monopoly according to their interest. Privatization is not going to help the development of the airport," Vijayan said.
Centre had privatized six airports in February 2019
Vijayan urged the Centre to step back and hand over the management and operation of Thiruvananthapuram Airport to the State Government which had already proved its expertise in the same. In February 2019, besides Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, and Jaipur airports, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, and Mangaluru airports were also privatized. That time, Vijayan had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the Centre to reconsider its decision.
'Kerala Government had the rightful claim on management of airport'
As the State Government had rendered assistance to the airport wholeheartedly, including providing land at various stages, the Kerala Government had the rightful claim on the management and operation of Trivandrum International Airport, Vijayan had stated in the letter. The State Government through its SPV, which participated in the bidding process, had expressed the willingness to match the highest bidder.
Protesting employees demanded reason for the hurried agreement
Meanwhile, the employees, who had staged a protest, said their Special Leave Petition is pending in the Supreme court and wanted to know the reason for the hurry in signing the agreement by the AAI.