People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 24

June 16, 2013






CITU Opposes PPP Route in Airport Projects


THROUGH a letter written to Ajit Singh, union minister for civil aviation, on June 12, CITU general secretary Tapan Sen drew his attention to media reports that the government of India was making a move to hand over the management of Kolkata and Chennai airports to private hands through PPP route. It said The Hindu report dated June 8 quoted the minister as saying that global bids would be floated soon for the professional management of these airports.


Recalling the CITU’s opposition to such a move nine months back, Sen reiterated the demand that the government refrain from de facto privatisation of these premier remunerative airports in view of its serious repercussions.


The letter also drew attention to the recommendations of a tripartite committee, appointed by the government which stated inter alia that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) would be undertaking development or modernisation of about 60 airports including non-Metro airports, besides mega projects at Chennai and Kolkata. The ministry of civil aviation has already accepted this recommendation. The committee comprised representatives of the government, AAI and employees unions.


It is not understood what makes the government or the ministry to make an about-turn from the committee’s unanimous recommendation, particularly when about Rs 3700 crore have already been invested in modernising or renovating the Calcutta and Chennai airports. At this juncture, inducting a private player in this job obviously means allowing them to make undue profit out of public resources.


Moreover, the track record of private operators in Delhi and Mumbai airports and their bungling in levying much higher user development charges vis-a-vis the AAI-managed airports, have thoroughly exposed the pitfalls of allowing private players in crucial infrastructure projects involving public interest.


The Airport Authority Employees Union has already conveyed opposition to any move to hand over the management of Kolkata and Chennai airports, and they are going to take one day mass casual leave in all the airports on June 21.


The CITU leader therefore urged the minister to refrain any such move in the greater interests of the national economy.