Leasing Thiruvananthapuram airport: Legislative assembly in Kerala passes resolution urging Centre to reconsider decision
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan-led state government is against leasing the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to a private operator.
August 24, 2020 / 12:21 PM IST
Kerala’s Legislative Assembly has passed a resolution moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan against the Centre’s decision to hand over operations of the Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani Enterprises. The assembly, passing the resolution unanimously, also asked the Centre to reconsider the decision.
Last week, the central government cleared operation, management and development of airports in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, Rajasthan’s Jaipur and Assam’s Guwahati by Adani Enterprises through the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
The takeover of these three airports was cleared as part of the original six that were auctioned in 2019, wherein Adani Enterprises emerged as the highest bidder.
Following this development, Vijayan had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the move was "against the wishes of people."
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Disapproving of the move, Vijayan in his letter said that the Centre ignored repeated requests from Kerala for entrusting the airport to a special purpose vehicle, with the state as a major stakeholder. Pointing out that litigation on the matter is pending before the Kerala High Court, the chief minister said "it will be difficult for Kerala to offer cooperation for implementation of decision."
Later on August 20, the state’s Finance Minister Thomas Issac tweeted: “Thiruvananthapuram airport privatised to Adani rejecting the claim of Kerala government, even after offer to match Adani’s rate. PMO’s promise to accept Kerala proposal broken. People of Kerala will not accept this act of brazen cronyism”.
The Kerala government had moved the Supreme Court, which earlier this year sent petitions back to the High Court. Apart from the state, the airport employees’ union had also filed a petition against the PPP move. The case continues to drag along in the High Court, which has been unable to take it up because of the COVID-19 disruption.