Thiruvananthapuram: The Pinarayi government has approached the Kerala High Court, seeking a stay of the transfer of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to the Adani group, as decided by the Union government.
The new petition is in addition to the state government’s already pending petition with the court against the move to privatise the airport. It is learnt that the new petition has been filed as per the advise of the Advocate General.
The High Court had already refused to stay the tendering process for the privatisation. The state government had then approached the Supreme Court, which refused to intervene, telling the government to approach the High Court again.
Legal circles note that that since the Supreme Court did not stay the tendering process, the Centre does not face any hurdles in going ahead with the leasing of the airport and transferring of the management to the Adani company for a period of 50 years. However, the Adani group is not expected to find it all smooth sailing when it comes to the transfer as it requires an agreement from the state government for the running and development of the airport in the form of a state support agreement.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had declared at the all-party meeting on Thursday that no management would be able to run the airport properly without the cooperation of the state government. He expressed the view that no company would dare to challenge the state government if they are sensible.
The state government had transferred over 23 acres of land to the Airport Authority of India in 2005 for the development of the Thiruvananthapuram airport. The land was given on the understanding that the value of the land would be treated as the state government’s share in the special purpose vehicle being formed to own and operate the airport.
The state government has also been in the process of acquiring another 18 acres for the expansion of the airport. There is now uncertainty over this land as the state government has indicated that it will not extend the facility to the Adani group.
The airport’s land, running into 636 acres, also includes an area of 258 acres that belonged to the Royal Flying Club and was made available by the erstwhile Travancore government.