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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Kerala: Day after all-party meet seeks revocation, Hardeep Puri says airport privatisation subject to outcome of plea in HC

An all-party meeting held at Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday wanted that the Union government revoke its decision to hand over the management of the international airport in the state capital to Adani Group.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | August 22, 2020 12:53:36 am
Hardeep Puri, Revenues of Indian airlines, Airlines revenue fall, Airlines during April-June, Covid-19 lockdown, India news, Indian expressHardeep Puri said the employee count at airports has reduced from 67,760 on March 31 to 64,514 on July 31. (File)

Reacting to the decision of the Kerala all-party meeting on Thursday seeking revocation of leasing out the Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani Enterprises, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said the Union Cabinet’s clearance for the airport’s privatisation was subject to the outcome of a petition at the Kerala High Court.

“Then they approached Hon’ble Kerala High Court which dismissed the petition in Dec 2019. Petitioners then filed a SLP (special leave petition) in Hon’ble SC (Supreme Court). Apex Court remitted the matter back to Hon’ble Kerala High Court. There is no stay in the case either by Hon’ble SC or Hon’ble Kerala High Court,” Puri said in a series of tweets.

“The Union Cabinet has given its go-ahead for awarding the airport to the private party subject to the outcome of Writ Petition & in accordance with provisions of undertaking given by the Concessionaire. If the petitioners succeed & outcome of litigation leads to annulment/cancellation of bidding process then the Concessionaire will handover the possession of airport to AAI. They will be entitled to refund of amount paid to AAI & additional investments made in the assets. The Concessionaire will also not demand any damages from AAI,” he added.

An all-party meeting held at Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday wanted that the Union government revoke its decision to hand over the management of the international airport in the state capital to Adani Group. All political parties, except BJP, wanted that the Thiruvananthapuram airport be retained in the public sector. Reflecting the views of the all-party meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the Union Cabinet to reconsider its decision to hand over the airport to Adani Group. “The overwhelming view of the all-party meeting is that the operation and management of the airport should be vested with the state,” the letter noted.

“Now, Kerala Government, running two very successful airports in PPP mode, is opposing the handing over of Thiruvananthapuram airport under PPP mode. It has come to my knowledge that an all-party meeting in Kerala has opposed the PPP model at Thiruvananthapuram airport … If Kerala Govt is against privatisation, then why did it participate in the bidding process? State Govt was given a fair chance & Right of First Refusal (RoFR) if their bid was within 10% below the range of highest bid. However, they bid 19.64 % below,” Puri tweeted.

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