AAI workers threaten stir over airports privatisation

AAI workers threaten stir over airports privatisation

Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees have warned the Civil Aviation Ministry that they will go on an agitation if the process of privatisation of six major airports is put on the fast track.

In a letter to the government and the Planning Commission, Airports Authority Employees Union (AAEU) general secretary B S Ahlawat said they were “watching the moves” of the government, made at the behest of the Planning Commission.

He said the AAI has spent over Rs 5,000 crore recently on developing the Chennai and Kolkata airports. “Prime airports, with prime land, are planned to be handed over to private entities at a throwaway price, thus amounting to open squandering of public money by people who are going to the public for election,” said Ahlawat.

The government has decided to give the Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Lucknow and Jaipur airports to private parties on 30-year lease for operation and management. The ministry recently informed Parliament that apart from privatising these six airports, it intends to give 14 more airports to private parties for operation and development during the 12th Plan period.

Recently, Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy had asked the Election Commission to immediately stop the process of privatisation of six major airports as the poll code was in force.

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