Tribune News Service
New Delhi, Aug 21
Pointing out on the variety of airports within the state that are being run below the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mannequin, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday questioned the “real reason” for the Kerala Government’s opposition to the Centre’s choice of handing over the Thiruvananthapuram airport to a non-public entity.
In an official assertion, the Minister mentioned, “Kerala is the pioneer as far as airports under the PPP model are concerned. The first PPP airport in India came up in Kochi in Kerala. It is a successfully run airport with a capacity of 13 million passengers per annum and was handling 9.62 MPPA in 2019-20 before COVID19.”
Puri went on so as to add that one other very profitable instance of the PPP mannequin was Kannur. “In fact, it was during the UDF regime in Kerala that the foundation for Kochi airport was laid in 1994 and the airport was inaugurated in 1999 during the LDF regime,” he mentioned.
Questioning the rationale behind opposing the handing over of Thiruvananthapuram airport below the PPP mannequin, the Minister mentioned it was for all to know that the state already had two very efficiently operating airports within the PPP mannequin.
“It has come to my knowledge that an all-party meeting in Kerala has opposed the PPP model at Thiruvananthapuram airport,” he added.
The Minister additional mentioned, “If Kerala Government is against privatisation, then why did it participate in the bidding process? The state government was given a fair chance and Right of First Refusal (RoFR) if their bid was within 10% below the range of the highest bid. However, they bid 19.64 % below (the range).”
“The Union Cabinet has given its go-ahead for awarding the airport to the private party subject to the outcome of the writ petition and in accordance with provisions of undertaking given by the Concessionaire,” Puri mentioned.
The Minister additional mentioned it must be borne in thoughts that these airports would come again to the AAI after the lease interval of 50 years.