Saturday, September 17, 2016

State wasn't keen to join airport JV

Chandigarh: While first day of launching international flight from Chandigarh airport was marred by controversy over claim on the new airport by both the states of Punjab and Haryana, the sources in the airports authority of India (AAI) revealed that initially Haryana was not even interested to become partner in this joint venture.
Haryana had not even participated in the process when the state, along with Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, was invited to become part of the joint project to develop an international airport. It was only after the last minute intervention by then Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at the timing of signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Punjab and AAI in January 2008, that the state was made partner in the project. Sources added that Hooda had to intervene after it was suggested to him that absence of Haryana's share in international airport may weaken Haryana's claim over Chandigarh.
As per the original plan, accessed by TOI, MoU was to be signed between AAI and Punjab through Greater Mohali Development Authority (GMADA). A joint venture (JV) company with 51% equity stake of AAI and 49 % equity stake of GMADA was to be formed to develop and run an international civil air terminal at Mohali. Land was to be acquired by GMADA and handed over to the JV. However, after the changes, made minutes before signing the MoU, the share in JV was redefined to 51% AAI and 24.5 % each for the state governments of Haryana and Punjab.
What's more, the Punjab government was reluctant to allow Haryana to become part of the project, and then civil aviation minister Praful Patel had to convince Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal to make the neighbouring state a partner. It was only after Patel's insistence, Haryana was entered as partner in project on January 4, 2008, right at the time of signing of MoU.
17/09/16 Ajay Sural/Times of India
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