Row over Kerala govt's Thiruvananthapuram airport plan

Row over Kerala govt's Thiruvananthapuram airport plan

Left Front government has been vehemently opposing handing over the airport's operations to Adani group by raising concerns over privatisation.

Kerala government's proposal to form a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) firm to take over Thiruvananthapuram international airport operations has raised many eye brows.

On the other hand, the Left Front government has been vehemently opposing handing over the airport's operations to Adani group by raising concerns over privatisation.

As per the present plan, the government will have 26% stakes in the proposed PPP model firm, Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Limited.

This means that private parties may acquire major shares.

There were also allegations that the move was aimed at helping some prominent NRI businessman from Kerala to acquire major stakes in the airport, which is running at an annual profit of about Rs 150 crore.

Smelling a rat over the move, the airport employees have already opposed the airport's take over by a PPP model firm with only 26% government stakes.

Airport Authority Employees Union, Thiruvananthapuram branch secretary A Ajithkumar said that unless there is 51% stakes for the government in the proposed model firm, any move to handover the airport to the firm will be opposed.

Only if the government get at least 51% stakes, it could be considered as a public sector one, he told DH.

Some business and industry leaders in the state have been strongly opposing the government's stand against privatising the airport.

Even Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor took a stand in favour of privatising the airport operations citing that it would help develop the airport.

Meanwhile, sources in the Airports Authority of India said that the chances of the Centre revoking its decision to privatise the airport, along with five others is still a remote one.

Already the Union Cabinet has decided to handover three airports and a final decision on other three, including the one in Thiruvananthapuram, is expected soon. Adani group had won the bid to run these airports.