Saturday, August 28, 2021

Centre to monetise Hubballi airport; move draws flak

Dharwad: The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has identified 25 airports in the country under the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for monetization under the National Monetization Pipeline (MNP) and the Hubballi Airport is in the list.

The details have been placed on the NITI Ayog’s website. Monetization in effect means handing over of the listed airports to private sector.

The Union Ministry of Aviation says monetization is proposed to be done in four phases between 2022 and 2025. It is aimed at augmenting financial resources for infrastructure development. The larger objective is to focus on monetization of these 25 airports, while bundling of smaller airports may be explored based on market testing of transactions and investor feedback, the NITI Ayog said and added that the overall capital expenditure is valued at Rs 20,782 crore.

Hubballi Airport is the only airport from Karnataka in the list. The proposal is to privatise it in the third phase - 2023-2024. The airports at Chennai, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Vadodara and Bhopal are to be privatized during the same year.

The aviation ministry expects revenue of Rs 4,193 crore From Hubballi airport the ministry expects a capital expenditure of Rs 130 crore. It is the third largest airport in the state with increased number of flights and passengers under Udan scheme.

However, the Centre’s move has attracted criticism. “The Union government has started privatizing railways, BSNL, Life Insurance Corporation of India and now airports. This will be a move against public interest because private operators who come with profit motive will exploit the end users.” said Ramanjanappa Aldalli, district president of Socialist Unity Center of India (Communist).

28/08/21 Times of India

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