Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Recover Rs 63 crore from government, auditor tells Airport Authority of India

New Delhi: In 2008, the government had decided to build a new airport at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Almost a decade and Rs 63.28 crore later, the books are showing meager revenue from passenger movement. The draft audit report accessed by The New Indian Express shows the decision to construct the terminal was purely political, which was camouflaged as “fulfillment of social objective”. The government auditors report drafted after a week-long inspection in October 2017 has recommended that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) must ask the government to give it back the Rs 63.28 crore spent on the almost idle airport.

The completion cost of Jaisalmer Airport include cost of equipment to Rs 4.25 crore at the terminal building like conveyer belt, X-ray baggage machine, electrical installations, CCTV cameras, furniture, fixtures and solar plants, which remain idle. The audit report said the guarantee period of these assets have elapsed, and a depreciation of Rs 23.37 crore on them, including building and apron, has been charged.

“This is indicative of weaknesses in the initial planning and designing of the project and lack of diligence in identification of realistic requirements prior to execution of work. The whole expenditure should be recovered from government of India,” the auditors told AAI.

Auditors have said airport’s revenue projection was faulty as it was a closed airport with no historical data to make traffic forecast based on trend analysis. The projected revenue was worked out based on 30 per cent of the revenue of Jodhpur airport, which ranged from Rs 1.9 crore to Rs 3.7 crore during 2004-05 to 2006-07. Revenue of Jaisalmer Airport from 2004-05 to 2006-07 ranged from NIL to Rs 0.05 lakh.

The audit report pointed out that the figures of revenue of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur was not comparable and the plan to build the new terminal building with capacity to handle 250 passengers at a time was also not appropriate, considering that it was closed airport. Considering the location of airport, connectivity with important places of the country and being seasonal tourism destination, possibility of any increase in revenue from passenger movement in the near future was remote.
02/01/18 Yatish Yadav/New Indian Express