Thursday, February 09, 2023

Adani’s winning bids for six airports: Former privatisation panel head explains key policy changes

The handing over of six government-owned airports to the Adani Group has become a hot topic following Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's address in the Parliament on February 7.

CNBC-TV18 spoke to the chairman and some members of the panel that decided on the airport privatisation plan. They deny any wrongdoings in the process and defend the relaxation in certain criteria to bring in more participation from domestic players. They say Adani Group was given all six airports as it emerged as the highest bidder among all bidders for all six airports.

"The rules were changed by the government and Adani was given six airports. After that India's most strategic, profitable airport — the Mumbai airport was taken away, and hijacked from GVK by agencies. By exerting CBI, ED pressure the Indian government handed the airport into Adaniji's hands," Rahul Gandhi had said.

The Adani Group owns and operates seven airports in India, six of which have been transferred for 50 years under the privatisation project. The group took over the prized Mumbai International Airport from GVK in July 2021.

Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi-led government of tweaking rules regarding airport privatisation to favour the Adani Group.

The issue dates back to November 2018, when the Cabinet approved privatisation of six airports. A PPP Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) was formed as a competent authority to decide on the criteria and provisions of this project.

In its meeting on December 11, 2018, the PPPAC took two crucial decisions that paved the way for Adani Group's foray into the airports business.

09/02/23 Madeeha Mujawar/CNBC TV18

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