(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 16, 2008
CITU Extends Full Support To AAI Employees Agitation
CITU president M K Pandhe issued the following statement on March 12, 2008
THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) extends its full support to the non-cooperation movement launched today by Airports Authority of India Employees Union (AAIEU) against the proposed closure of Hyderabad and Bangalore airports which are under Airports Authority of India (AAI). CITU expresses its full solidarity with the employees’ struggle to save AAI as the closure of existing Hyderabad and Bangalore airports coupled with the earlier privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports, would deal a mortal blow to the future of AAI, converting it into a loss making enterprise. CITU strongly opposes the government’s decision to close the airports to ensure competition free monopoly of new private greenfield airports which are being opened outside both the cities.
CITU regrets that the government is treating the unanimous recommendations of the Standing Committee of Parliament which was placed in the Parliament on March 5, 2008 as a scrap of waste paper and is not even prepared to review the decision in light of the recommendations which specifically urges upon the government that the old airports should function, given the rising volume of the air traffic. The demand of the AAIEU to review this decision of the closure as recommended by the Committee is rational and justified. CITU condemns that instead of accepting such constructive proposals from the union, the government is trying to browbeat the employees through intimidatory measures like imposing of ESMA and threat of arrest of the agitating employees.
CITU ridicules the contention of the government that the so-called concession agreement is sacrosanct and cannot be reviewed. In view of the fact that the both greenfield airports were given enough concessions in terms of free of cost land i.e. 5000 acres for Shamshabad, Hyderabad and 4300 acres of land for Devanahalli, Bangalore and financial support of Rs 422 crore by state government of Andhra Pradesh and Rs 350 crore by government of Karnataka to these greenfield airports, any further concession by government of India through revenue loss by closure of two profit and major revenue earning public assets of Hyderabad and Bangalore airports, calls for immediate public scrutiny. CITU also reminds the government that such decisions have been reviewed in the past also for corrective measures in the case of IISCO, disinvestment of BHEL, Neyveli and NALCO etc.
CITU calls upon the working class to extend solidarity support to the struggling airport employees as a part of saving the public sector as a whole.