Friday, March 08, 2019

Kerala businesses flay govt’s airport stance, support transfer to Adani

The business community in Kerala has upped the ante against the state government’s questioning of the Airports Authority of India (AAI)’s move to grant the rights of operation, management and development of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises. Besides the state government moving the high court against the AAI, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, state secretary of the CPI (M), on Wednesday said the Adani group should back out of the 50-year lease contract.

Within hours of the CPI(M) top brass’s statement, as many as 35 assorted industry and trade organisations, including CII and G-Tech ( Group of Technopark companies), have come together to place a front-page ad on a leading Malayalam daily on Thursday, unequivocally dubbing “the airport privatisation” allegation as a “myth”. The undersigned for the ad is an apex outfit of various trade organisations that calls itself ‘Awake Trivandrum’.

The bid of the state government’s KSIDC (fee of Rs 135/passenger) was far behind the bid of Adani Enterprises (that quoted Rs 168) in the tenders. The Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is one of the five airports for which Adani has won the bid.
“A private investor brings fresh capital to expand the facilities and flights, so that the passenger revenues will grow and even the places around the airport will indirectly benefit. When a state undertakes a service industry, historically, it is likely to go on loss,” says the ad. It goes on “to request the Kerala government to utilise the opportunity in the best manner”.
Balakrishnan on Wednesday argued that the Kerala government, which gave 635 acre free to the airport, should be allowed to run it. He expressed fears that since Adani Group is building a deep sea port at Vizhinjam nearby, they might convert the Trivandrum airport into a cargo airport.
08/03/19 M Sarita Varma/Financial Express