The city Corporation council on Wednesday passed a resolution against the Centre’s decision to award the running of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises Limited.
The resolution demanded that the airport management should either be under a public-private partnership arrangement or be retained under the control of the Airports Authority of India.
Councillors of the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed the resolution, while those of the United Democratic Front (UDF) supported it. Presenting the resolution at the council meeting, Mayor K.Sreekumar said the Centre’s decision to lease the airport to a private company for 50 years was taken without considering the wishes of the people or the objections put forward by the State government.
“Five of the country’s most important airports have been handed over to the same company raising suspicion. The State government had said it is ready to match the amount quoted by Adani Enterprises. The successful PPP models in Kannur and Kochi airports could have been replicated here too. Many people and the government have handed over land for the airport’s expansion. This decision is part of the BJP government’s agenda of selling off all public sector companies,” the Mayor said.
BJP councillor M.R. Gopan said the Left Democratic Front was displaying double standards by opposing Adani on one hand and hiring a law firm with Adani’s relatives as partners for legal vetting of the bid in the other.
UDF councillor D.Anilkumar said the UDF would support the resolution but it cannot turn a blind eye to the State government’s failure in ensuring that Adani did not win the airport bid.
“The UDF has right from the beginning supported the State government’s stand regarding the airport. But it did not take enough care in the steps to win the bid,” he said.
CPI councillor Solomon Vettukad said the less number of flights from the airport had been used as a reason to push for privatisation, but the Airports Authority of India was responsible for this, and not the State government. He also criticised Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for taking a stand in support of privatisation.
UDF councillor Peter Solomon said the fight against privatisation should go beyond the mere passing of a resolution. He said all councillors should take a united stand on the issue of privatisation of the airport, which comes under the Corporation area.
The Mayor declared the resolution passed amid uproar from the BJP councillors.