09:46 GMT24 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Last week, the Indian government cleared a proposal to lease three more Airport Authority of India-backed airports to private conglomerate Adani group for the next 50 years. The move invited criticism from the Kerala government which claimed that the move was against the assurances given by the federal government to the state.

    Kerala’s Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a resolution against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's decision to hand over operations of the Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani Enterprises.

    Kerala State Chief Pinarayi Vijayan's government is against the move. He maintains that Kerala wants to remain a major stakeholder in the airport and minimise the financial risks. The state chief had earlier written to Modi, expressing his displeasure over the decision.

    Said Vijayan: "This decision is without considering the state government's request to hand-over the operations of the airport to special purpose vehicle in which the government has a major share."

    During a central cabinet meeting last week, the Modi government approved the leasing of the airports at Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram through a series of public-private partnerships to the Adani Group. 

    ​The row was triggered because the Adani group, India's one of the largest infrastructure companies, reportedly has no prior experience of handling airports, and the opposition has alleged the decision is part of a move by the Modi government to favour big corporations when it comes to contracts.

    Clarifying the government's stand and decision, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Twitter that if the Kerala government is against privatisation, why did it participate in the bidding process?

    "State Govt was given a fair chance & Right of First Refusal (RoFR) if their bid was within 10% below the range of highest bid. However, they bid 19.64 % below. Kerala is the pioneer as far as airports under Public Private Partnership are concerned," the minister said in a recent tweet.

    The central government has also maintained that leasing the airport to the private sector would result in providing world-class services for passengers.


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