Wednesday, February 06, 2019

UDF to take Calicut airport issue to the streets ahead of LS polls

Kozhikode: After raising the issue of high sales tax on aviation turbine fuel at Calicut International Airport in the Assembly and the Kozhikode Corporation, the United Democratic Front (UDF) is now planning to take the issue to the streets ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

District Congress Committee president T. Siddique said the Congress along with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) would chalk out agitations in the city including a protest in front of the collectorate in March.

He said the State government’s alleged step-motherly attitude towards the Calicut airport was uncalled for. “No one is against developing and offering freebies to the Kannur airport. But that should not be at the cost of the government-run airport,” he said, adding that the front would join hands with NRI organisations for organising mass agitations.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee State general secretary P.M. Suresh Babu, who is also a member of the Kozhikode Corporation council, said the issue was of utmost importance considering it was affecting thousands of air passengers from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.
“The sales tax on aviation turbine fuel for airlines operating at the Calicut airport should be relaxed like in the Kannur airport which is 1%. The tax imposed at the Calicut airport, which is run by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), is 29.4%.”

IUML legislative party leader M.K. Muneer raised the issue in the Assembly on Monday. He flayed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for allegedly ignoring the demands of the Calicut airport. He said the Cabinet in September 2017 had taken a decision to reduce the sales tax to 5% at all airports in the State. This was done overruling a decision of the Finance Department. Subsequently, the decision was also notified in the gazette.
06/02/19 The Hindu