Adani’s takeover bid faces resistance from CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s Left Front government is toughening its stand that the state will not allow the Adani group to take over the management of the Thiruvananthapuram airport at any cost.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Narendrs Modi tomorrow in Delhi, where he is going to attend the NITI Aayog meeting.

The Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL) has emerged as the highest bidder for managing, operating, and developing the infrastructure of the Airports Authority of India-managed airport for the next 50 years.

The Kerala government had formed the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Limited (TIAL) under the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) for operating the airport.

The state’s request to hand over the airport to the SPV or for participating in the bidding process with Right of First Refusal (RoFR) was, however, not approved by the Civil Aviation Ministry.

The LDF government is now taking the stand that a private group cannot operate and develop the airport without the support of the state government.

Earlier in the state assembly while replying to a calling attention motion, the the chief minister reiterated the government stance that the airport cannot be handed over to the AEL.

Vijayan said that the Centre should either continue with the existing arrangement under the Airport Authority of India (AAI) or entrust the airport to the State government.

The government has also moved the Kerala High Court against the move to hand over the airport to the Adani group, claiming that the move is arbitrary and illegal. The petition is pending hearing by the court.

Vijayan said 208.06 acres of land was handed over to the airport by the erstwhile Travancore royal family. In addition to the 8.29 acres handed over by the State, another 32.56 was acquired and handed over. The process to acquire another 18 acres is in the final stage for the further expansion of the Terminal II.

Last week, the Kerala Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister urging him not to hand over the international airport to a private entity.

By K RAVEENDRAN

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