Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fact Check: This is the truth behind PM's claim on new airports

"There are now 100 airports operational in India of which 35 were added in the last four years," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during the inauguration of Sikkim's first airport at Pakyong on September 24 this year.

"Since Independence till 2014, the country had only 65 airports built over 67 years. That means, on an average, only one airport was built per year. However, in the past four years, almost nine airports were built in every year," the prime minister added.

India Today Fact Check team dug deep to find out the facts regarding the claims.

Claim: "Today we have made 100 airports operational."

Fact: Almost true. As of today, India has 101 operational airports. The information was given by none other than the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha to Parliament.

Answering a question in Lok Sabha on July 19 during the last Parliament session, Jayant Sinha said there are total of 129 airports owned by Airports Authority of India (AAI), of which 101 are operational.

Claim: "Among the (100 airports) 35 added in last 4 years. Since Independence till 2014, only 65 airports were built in 67 years."

Fact: False. Only seven operational airports have been added in the last four year.

The government records show 94 airports were already operational in 2014. The then Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju had stated this in the Lok Sabha on December 1, 2014, five months after the Narendra Modi government came to power.

If you go by the two statements of these two ministers - 94 airports were operational in 2014 (Ashok Gajpati Raju) and 101 airports in 2018 (Jayant Sinha) - it is clear that only seven operational airports have been added in the last four years.
We contacted J B Singh, PRO of Airports Authority of India, to provide us with the list of the 35 new airports the PM was referring to. However, he said the AAI does not have the list.

Claim: "In last four years, every year almost nine airports were built."

Fact: False. At the rate of nine airports per year, a total of 36 new airports should have been ready by now. Whereas only seven new airports have been completed and made functional. Moreover, all the seven airports made operational by the Modi government were actually approved during the UPA rule.
26/09/18 Chayan Kundu/Balkrishna/India Today