New Delhi: JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav today sought immediate stoppage of the process of privatisation of six airports, claiming that “undue haste” was being shown to benefit “pre-determined parties”.
The senior parliamentarian shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying “undue haste (was) being shown in the whole process” of privatising these AAI-developed airports, including those at Chennai and Kolkata.
“From the process, it appears that this whole exercise is probably being undertaken to help pre-determined parties as no new parties can complete the process in such a short time and submit their bids,” Yadav, himself a former Civil Aviation Minister, said.
He also alleged that the privatisation process was being undertaken at “the behest of Planning Commission Inter- Ministerial Committee Chairman Mr Haldea with the guidance of Montek Singh Ahluwalia.”
Observing that the Comptroller and Auditor General had earlier severely criticised the government on privatisation of the Delhi airport and loss to the exchequer, Yadav said he failed “to understand why tenders for retail, parking, food and beverages, duty free are being fast-tracked by AAI when it is in their mind that the airports are to be privatised.”
“I am sure that again this exercise in the name of privatisation will bring a bad name to the government, and therefore, your intervention at this stage is necessary,” he said.
“I shall be grateful if you could kindly look into the matter personally and direct the Ministry of Civil Aviation to stop the above exercise immediately,” the senior MP said.
Besides Kolkata and Chennai, the other airports modernised by the AAI and put on the block are at Lucknow, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Guwahati.
His letter came in the wake of reports that a parliamentary committee has also opposed the privatisation move and understood to have recommended that the Airports Authority of India should itself award management contracts to entities having expertise in the field.