Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 27 January 2021 1.09 AM IST

Don’t stifle Thiruvananthapuram airport to death


The Kerala government had approached the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision to lease Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises.

The LDF government had filed the appeal challenging the Kerala high court which dismissed the plea on October 19 on the grounds that it was directed against the privatisation policy of the Centre and hence devoid of merits.

Seeking an interim stay of the high court’s verdict, the plea filed through lawyer C.K. Sasi said that it has challenged the arbitrary and illegal action of the Airports Authority of India in attempting to prefer a particular private concessionaire, Adani Enterprises Ltd, for the operation, management and development of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

The Kerala government had filed the application in the high court after conducting an all-party-meeting, where demands were raised for the withdrawal of the Union Cabinet’s decision to lease the airport to Adani Enterprises.

The Centre had said that the state government did not qualify in the bidding process that was carried out in a “transparent manner.
Earlier also the State government had approached the supreme court with the same issue and then also the order was to approach the high court.

It is meaningless to approach the court after failing in the tender conducted legally.

Nonetheless the government moved the SC with zest and zeal.

Though it is a State-Centre or State-Adani wrangle, it is a blow to people who had dreamt about airport development. The trial will not be of any use to the airport or people other than delaying the developlemt.
The high court had denied government’s argument as it was not the only airport being leased out to Adani through tender and it was just one among the six.

The State has been trying to stake its claim by pointing out 27 acres of land it had acquired for airport and handed it over to the Airport Authority of India.

The decision to lease out came when the government was about to acquire 18 acre more.
The State government came out saying it would not acquire land or cooperate with Adani group if the Centre was not ready to change its stand.

Kerala Government should not see it is as a matter of prestige. What they are doing goes against the goal of development in Kerala.
In all aspects, facilities at the city aiport are too poor to call it a full-fledged international airport. Many international flights have stopped services here. What substantial development has happened here over the past three decades?

Whether it is the government or the private company what has to be evaluated is the competency in executing the project and airport’s development.

Interestingly, what the government tried to argue was that Adani had no experience in operating the airport but this argument will fall flat, given the fact that Adani was able to win six tenders at one go and hence they will also know how to run the airports smoothly.

Only after signing the lease agreement, has the government approached the SC again.
It has to be seen whether the development works remaining suspended for about 18 months will have to wait till the case is settle in the court.

It seems that the government who talks volumes abou forces that hinder development is taking a contradictory stands in the case of the airport development. This need to be discussed.

Recently a Thiruvananthapuram minister was seen calling for people’s protests alongside the legal battle over the issue. This would only be useful in hampering the State’s development.

In reality what has to be protested is the government stand that the blocking the development.

When the government says that facilities will not be provided to Adani to build new terminal, it means the government’s wish is that the airport should continue in its present state.

If the public opinion is the yardstick, the State government would have to changed its stand long before. What is important is airport’s development and benefits the State can derive from that. THE KERALA GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT STIFLE THIRUVANANTHPURAM AIRPORT TO DEATH…

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