HC restrains Kerala govt from demolishing Kochi flyover

The petition contended that the decision to demolish the bridge was taken without conducting load test to ascertain its structural stability.

After Kerala's much-hyped seaplane project initiated in 2013 failed to take off, a seaplane acquired by a private firm with hopes of operating from Kerala has been attached, owing to mounting bank loan dues.

It is said to be the first time in Indian banking history that a seaplane is being attached.

Kerala-based Federal Bank initiated the attachment proceeding to recover a debt of Rs 6 crore from Seabird Seaplane, a Kochi-based firm. The attachment proceedings were completed on Wednesday at the Nedumbaserry airport in Kochi, where the seaplane has been lying idle for the last five years for want of mandatory approvals from central and state governments.

The Kerala government initiated seaplane services in 2013. The Central government also announced that seaplanes need to be promoted for improving regional connectivity. Owing to a protest by a section of fishermen alleging that the operation of seaplanes would affect marine resources, the Kerala government has backtracked from the project, even as it had spent over Rs 15 crore for setting up infrastructure.

The Seabird Seaplane firm took a loan of Rs 4.15 crore from the Federal Bank in 2014, for purchasing the US made Kodak 100 Aircraft, worth around Rs 14 crore. But the loan turned into an NPA in 2016 owing to default. Since SARFAESI Act had not provision to attach aircraft, the bank initiated the provisions of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code through National Company Law Tribunal.

Federal Bank vice-president Mohamed Sageer told DH that an auction of the aircraft would be initiated through NCLT and if there were no prospective buyers, the US-based manufacturers of the seaplane would be contacted to explore a buy-back option.

The attachment proceedings of the seaplane was initiated by a team led by Federal Bank senior vice president K A Babu.

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