Airport takeover: Kerala High Court issues notices to Centre, AAI

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on March 07, 2019 Published on March 07, 2019

The AAI was duty-bound to have a negotiation with the state government. File photo

Kerala moves court against Adani bid

The Kerala High Court issued notices to the Centre and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday on a writ petition filed by the Kerala government challenging the move by the AAI to grant the right of operation, management and development of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd.

The state government contended that the AAI is bound to accept the proposal of the State government, submitted through the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (KSIDC), for concession for operation, development and management of the airport on a par with the amount offered by the Adani Enterprises. It added that the government-owned KSIDC was entitled to preferential consideration over Adani Enterprises in public interest.

Assurance flouted

The petition, filed by KR Jyothilal, Principal Secretary, Transport, pointed out that the Centre had refused to adhere to its assurance given in 2003 that taking into account the contribution made by the state for acquisition of additional land for the airport, the State government would be consulted when a decision to privatise the management of the airport was taken.

The Centre had declined the request of the State to transfer the operation of the airport to the government, which could form a special purpose vehicle and tie up with a partner proven in the management of the airport. The SPV should have the right of first refusal without any range parameters, the petition said.

The AAI was duty-bound to have a negotiation with the state government since the Chief Minister had offered to enhance the rate per passenger on a par with what had been quoted by the Adani Enterprises. Besides, the state government and the KSIDC had more expertise in managing and operating airports than the Adani Enterprises, which does not have any previous experience. So, the government and KSIDC should have been given the preference, the State government contended.

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Published on March 07, 2019
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