Panel seeks black-listing L&T,Siemens;Infy's Murthy not spared


A joint house committee of the Karnataka Assembly has also recommended "appropriate action" against those, including Infosys mentor N R Narayana Murthy, involved in the decision making process.

The report, tabled in the Assembly today, cited 'poor quality' of workmanship, trading shares for profit without showing an "iota of concern" for general public, entrusting all airport works among private players in Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) for its recommendations.

It slammed "total apathy" towards users' needs and said the project partners, L&T, Siemens and Zurich, should not be considered for any work by both the Government or its agencies for at least five years.
The committee said the decisions at each stage (right from project approval to construction) were not in accordance with the expectation of a world-class airport, and the present state of affairs is an outcome of such decisions.

Giving a list of officers involved in important decisions for initiating "appropriate action", it mentioned Infosys Chief Mentor Narayana Murthy, who was BIAL Chairman till 2005 and Rajiv Chandrasekhar, Chairman and CEO, BPL Innovations Business Group as also officials of the civil aviation ministry, Airport Authority of India and state agencies.

The Committee was set up to examine the lapses and suggest measures for improving the airport, which became operational in May last year, to international standards.

The report noted that in October this year, a promoter, the Unique (Flughafen Zurich AG) Zurich Airport, Switzerland, made a huge profit by off-loading 12 per cent (Rs 46.15 crore) of its 17 per cent (Rs 65.38 crore) stake at a over Rs 484.60 crore.

"The private promoter walked away with an over 1050 per cent return in just four years. This indicated that the private players have set their eyes on huge multiplication of their investment and have cut many corners for the sake of short-term profit," the report said.
The 21-member Committee, headed by D Hemachandra Sagar, was formed in September last year after several members alleged that the infrastructure created at the airport did not match international standards. Congress MLA D K Shivakumar alleged that BIA lacked very basic facilities.

The panel recommended that the airport be named immediately as "Kempegowda International Airport" after the name of the person who built Bengaluru.
Pointing out that the closure of HAL airport here (after the opening of BIA) negated the healthy competition and created private monopoly, it said the Government should take necessary action to open the HAL airport.

It said the Government of India should withdraw the order permitting BIAL to impose UDF (user development fee) of Rs 260 on passengers as BIAL has failed to provide adequate facilities of international standard to the users.

Further, the panel said governments at the Centre and in the state should not consider the release of any amount to BIAL, till its recommendations are met and the amount of Rs 100.26 crore following reduction of project cost, is refunded by BIAL.

The panel's anguish at the state of affairs in the airport and 'unresponsive' attitude of the management had reached a stage of recommending the termination of the contract (with BIAL),it said.

"The committee, however, keeping in view the larger interest of the state, restrained such a move," and advised the Government to be more careful in committing facilities at the huge cost to the public without any controlling powers.
Referring to the BIA, the panel said it appears that sometimes, the PPP (public-private-partnership) is not a boon, it's a bane. "The oddly managed Bangalore International Airport is a testimony to that. BIAL have come up with patchy, non-scientific and thoughtless solutions that left the public high and dry," the report said.

It said the Government should form a high-power technical committee consisting of government officers and technical experts from private field to review periodically the deficiencies and empower the Committee to recommend and implement corrective measures to achieve the international standards.

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