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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 02 December 2020 12.50 PM IST

Open Sesame

airport

Almost every airport is the main gate to a country or a state, an artery into the heart of a nation. A good airport with its welcoming ambience and efficient services and passenger -friendly facilities is sure to play a big role in accelerating the development of any state. It will be a tangible asset to any state. Any state which considers tourism as a reliable source of income should be keen on providing the best transportation by rail, road, water and air of which air is the most important. The central government has decided to lease the Trivandrum International Airport to Adani Enterprises for fifty years. But the state government is pulling a long face at this. The airport is to be leased on private-public partnership to the Adani group. In addition to the Trivandrum airport, Jaipur and Guwahati airports will also be leased out to the Adani Group of companies. The central government has made it clear that the lease was based on a public auction and that the Adani Group was the highest bidder. The present central government is inviting private sector partnership mostly in transport infrastructure. As the private sector becomes partners in hitherto public sector's monopolized development of Highways, Airport, Bridges, and Tunnels more investment is sure to happen and the public will be the beneficiaries. It was when the private airlines were allowed to function that, through competition the sector became more competent and efficient, and air travel became affordable to the common man. Communication sector too tells the same story.

An airport is a commercial venture to serve customers. Hence, when compares with the private sector entrepreneurs, the private sector or governmental management can do no good. An efficient, well maintained modern airport will enhance the air connectivity. This will in turn boost economic development. As of now there are complaints that the government levies a higher user fee for the airport facilities. This proportionately hikes the flight charges. When an airport is given over to the private sector the users’ fee can be brought down and this will bring down the flight expenses to increase air travel. Further new airlines will be established. Experts are of the opinion that the peculiar geographical advantages of the Trivandrum airport makes it a perfect refuelling stop. All this need huge initial investments and no government is in a position to do so in commercial ventures.

madhavan-nair

During the financial year of 2018-19. 4.5 million passengers’ have used the Trivandrum airport. When the facilities are improved, air-connectivity is increased and a more passenger friendly ambience is created this number is sure to increase. Such a progress will attract more capital investment. Kerala economy is basically foreign remittance economy. When air travel becomes comfortable and affordable, the cash flow will also increase The Trivandrum airport was started as a part of the Trivandrum flying club in 1932. It became an international airport only in 1991. To add new terminals so much costly land has to be acquired. If the government takes lead in procuring land and cooperate in this private-public partnership venture, this will give a great fillip to the state's general progress and development. When the national- international ties are strengthened thus the tourism sector, IT sector and health care sector will also be revived from their stupor. When it is managed by private entrepreneurship value added services, fiscal policies, employment effectiveness can also be assured. More people will visit the state for the good medical care that it offers. The places around the airport will not only get a face lift but also escalate indirectly providing more jobs.

This new partnership will put an end to the side-lining that this international airport has been suffering from for decades. The government should take a positive approach and provide more facilities to the private investors for the people to benefit from the intense growth entailed by this new arrangement. The government is not here to do business which is best done by private entrepreneurs today. It is only when the government joins hands with the private sector that south Kerala will be able to profit adequately from the situation.

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TAGS: OPEN SESAME, TRIVANDRUM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ADANI ENTERPRISES
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