The Centre of Indian Trade Unions denounces the hectic move to hand over six airports of the country mostly in the state capitals cities to chosen private player on the terms which clearly appear to be a big bonanza to the most favoured private corporate-the Adani Group, which incidentally had no exposure to airport or aviation related sector. The airports at Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Trivundrum, Mangalore and Guwahati have been put on fast track privatisation with a target to complete the deal well before election is announced.

All these airports, rather the national assets under sale were developed and modernized  by Airport Authority during the span of last decade spending thousands  of crores of rupees of tax-payers money. Now, the Modi Govt is in a visible haste to hand over these readymade functional as well as profit making airports to the private hands at a time when the Govt’s tenure is coming to end within months.

And for handing over the these readymade modernized airports with huge real estate assets, altogether new modalities have been discovered by the BJP Govt, may be to celebrate its latest pre-election deal with corporates,  which is  quite innovative to ensure a big bonanza to the most favoured private buyer. The private operator will be required to pay the Airport  Authority an amount  ranging from Rs 115/- to Rs 174/- per month per passenger. And there will be no sharing of the huge non-aeronautical commercial revenues out of the real estate and huge commercial space annexed to every airport, which is always much higher than the aeronautical revenues for almost all the airports under sale.

It is reported in the media that post-privatisation of these six airports, Airport Authority will be getting an upfront payment of around Rs 2500 crore within 90 days and thereafter Rs 525 crore annually as concession fee. Can these paltry return to AAI be compared with the total amount AAI has spent towards modernization and development of these six airports. If this comparison is made and also the incremental  prospect of revenue generation from these airports in the background of fast expanding aviation sector is taken into account honestly, then this major pre-election deal by Modi Govt is going to be big bonanza to the favoured private player at the irreparable cost of the national exchequer and national interest too.

CITU opines, as such, there has been no urgency to fast track the privatisation of these six airports so far operational and financial efficiency is concerned. The Airport Authority of India successfully developed and modernized with huge investment by itself almost all the major airports of the country and has been operating this crucial infrastructure quite efficiently, both financial and operational. A private new entrant operator like Adani Group, which have no experience in airport management,  is now being handed over these airports only to benefit the new operators, and not for better airport operation in the least.

CITU vehemently condemns this hasty pre-election deal of handing over country’s six airports to favoured private operators  by the Govt which is nothing but a loot of national assets and infrastructure by private corporate. CITU calls upon the working class in general and the trade union movement in particular to oppose and resist the privatisation of these six airports through countrywide agitation and struggle.

( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

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