In what is being termed as “growing fissure within the saffron family” over the leasing of the Airport Authority of India-run airports to private players, the RSS affiliate Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has said that they are seriously upset with the government.
Days after the Central government decided to lease out six more AAI-run airports to private companies, the BMS said that the government is bent upon selling the profit-making airports but the workers’ union of the RSS was opposed to the move.
“We have written letters to Prime Minister Modi and the Minister of Aviation also, opposing the leasing out of the airports,” told Girish Arya, member of the Central Working Committee, BMS.
“BMS firmly believes that the government should not lease out profit-making airports…Since the government wants to bring airports under PPP model, they should lease out only those airports that were suffering financial losses”.
“There are nearly 90 such airports in this country run by the AAI which can be handed over to the private players,” he added.
According to the government’s own record, as many as 94 aerodromes owned and managed by the AAI were running in losses in the last financial year. At present, AAI owns and manages 129 airports out of which 94 were running in loss in the financial year 2017-18.
Meanwhile, NH has learnt that the Central government has prepared a list of over 13 to15 more airports for leasing out to private companies.
As of now, nearly 12 airports – most of them are the profit-making airports run by the AAI – have been shortlisted for leasing out to the private players by the government with the Adani group becoming the principal beneficiary of this policy.
Modi government – in the first phase of the privatisation of the airports – had leased out six airports to the Adani group. Out of these six airports, three have already been handed over to the group while the process for the rest three is being finalised.
As the NH has reported that in the second round of the leasing out, the government has finalised six more airports, which according to sources, are likely to go to the Adani group.
Interestingly, when asked about the proximity of the Adani group with the Modi government and the alleged favouritism, the BMS source refused to comment.
When asked what BMS will do if the government continues with this process of leasing out the airports, the BMS leader said that in the last week of December, a national convention has been called in Delhi to decide the future course of action. “However, if the government continues with this process, we will hit the streets,” he asserted.