Pinarayi Vijayan slams privatisation of Trivandrum airport; Union Minister Muraleedharan hits back

Trivandrum Airport employees protested in front of Airport Director’s office hours after Adani Group signed concession agreement with the Airport Authority of India
Pinarayi Vijayan slams privatisation of Trivandrum airport; Union Minister Muraleedharan hits back

On Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan criticized the privatisation of the Trivandrum International Airport. The Adani Group will be taking over the operations of the airport.

“The State government approached the Supreme Court of India against the privatisation of Trivandrum Airport. Despite the case being under consideration, the Centre has signed the (concession) agreement because of its deep interest in the matter,” Vijayan said, slamming the Centre for standing against federal principles and neglecting the demands of the State.

However, Union Minister V Muraleedharan called Vijayan’s allegations baseless in a series of tweets. “Vijayan is hell-bent on depriving people in the State of progress and development. The State government, which has failed the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), immersed in various scandals, is misguiding the Assembly,” Muraleedharan said in a tweet.

“Vijayan’s allegations are baseless and smell foul. He is agitated as the people would choose BJP’s developmental politics over LDF’s regressive and anti-development politics,” he said in another Tweet.

On Tuesday The Adani Enterprises Group signed a concession agreement with the Airport Authority India (AAI) for Trivandrum, Jaipur, and Guwahati airports. The Group also added that in the agreement with the AAI, the concession period is 50 years from the commercial operation date.

Soon after the announcement, employees of the Trivandrum International Airport protested in front of the Airport Director’s office against the takeover.

Reportedly, the employees said their special leave petition is pending in front of the Supreme Court of India. The employees were curious as to what was AAI’s rush in signing the agreements with the Adani Group.

Earlier, the LDF government filed a petition in the SC against Adani Enterprises over the taking over of the Trivandrum International Airport. In a petition filed by the Kerala government in the apex court, the government pointed out that the Adani Group lacks prior experience in the field and is therefore unfit for the business.

The petition goes on to state that the decision goes against “public opinion”. In its plea, the state government said that it was the government that completed the process of acquiring the land for the airport and so, the central government ought to hand over operations of the airport to a company formed by the Kerala government.

The Kerala High Court rejected similar petitions filed by the Kerala government against the decision to hand over the operation and management of the airport to the Adani group in October. Adani Enterprises had won the rights for the operations of the Thiruvananthapuram airport in an auction held in August. They also got the right to operate Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, and Guwahati — all of which, including Thiruvananthapuram, will be handled in a public-private partnership.

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