Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Kerela CM urges PM Modi to reconsider decision to handover operations of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to private bidder

After the Cabinet approved the proposal for leasing out Thiruvananthapuram airport through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing the inability of the state government to offer co-operation in this regard and urged his intervention “so that the decision is reconsidered.”“In view of the unilateral decision taken by the Government of India without giving credence to the cogent arguments put forward by the State Government, it will be difficult for us to offer co-operation to the implementation of the decision, which is against the wishes of the people of the State,” read the letter by Vijayan. “I request your goodself to intervene at this stage so that the decision taken now is reconsidered,” he stated.

The Chief Minister said that the Union Cabinet has decided to hand over the management and operation of Trivandrum International Airport to a private bidder ignoring the repeated requests of the Government of Kerala for entrusting the same to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which State Government is the major stakeholder.
He said that the present decision is in contravention to the assurance given by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, in 2003.

“The assurance was that as and when induction of a private player is considered, the Government of India would factor in the contributions made by the State Government to the development of the Trivandrum Airport. There was further assurance in this regard when we had a personal meeting in New Delhi,” read the letter.
The State Government had earlier transferred 23.57 acres to the Airport Authority of India, free of cost for construction of the international terminal, subject to the condition that the value of the land would be reflected as Government of Kerala’s share capital in an SPV which would be set up, he said.

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Vijayan said that the state government had requested delinking the Trivandrum International Airport from the proposal to operate in PPP mode or allow the SPV of the State Government to have the right to the first refusal in order to match the quote of the highest bidder.None of these has been considered, he said.
“In my letter dated June 10, 2020, the request to hand over management and operation of the Trivandrum International Airport to the SPV in which the State Government is the major stakeholder was reiterated.

This has not been considered and the present decision has come even while the litigation in this regard is pending before the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala as per the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” read the letter.
On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal for leasing out three airports namely Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports of AAI through PPP.The Cabinet accorded its approval for leasing of three AAI airports namely, Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram for Operation, Management and Development to M/s Adani Enterprises Ltd, who is declared as the successful bidder in a Global Competitive Bidding conducted by the Airports Authority of India, for a period of fifty years.

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