27 October, 2020

The Tarmac Is Grey

Civil aviation shudders as protests, legal action greet the airport privatisation plan Updates

Abhijit Bhatlekar
The Tarmac Is Grey
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel had a deadline to meet. He desperately wanted to finalise the bids for the modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports by January 31. On that Tuesday, he triumphantly announced that the government had kept its date with airports privatisation. The next day, the cabinet ratified the decision to award the Delhi airport to the GMR group and Mumbai to the GVK group. Neither allegations nor controversies deterred Patel. Even the grim prospects of an all-India strike by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees and a long-drawn-out and messy legal battle couldn't stop Patel.

Expectedly, the inevitable happened. The AAI employees struck work, disrupting flights and causing inconvenience to passengers. The Anil Ambani-led adae group (a faction of the now-split Reliance group), which was one of the bidders, went to court. Its press release alleged that the government reversed the "fundamental philosophy of the tender to favour select bidder(s)" and denied "Reliance either of the airports." That seemed ironical as, in early January,...
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