Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Mar 19, 2006
Industry & Economy - Airlines
Govt committed to building world-class airports: Patel
Allaying fears AAI profit after tax for 2006-07 is estimated to be Rs 548 crore. Workers' interests have been protected.
New Delhi , March 18
The Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, assured Parliament that the Government was committed to developing world-class airports in the country and was keen to ensure that there was equitable distribution of airports across the country.
"No one has ever questioned the ability of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). But the real issue is whether we should confine ourselves to Delhi and Mumbai or redistribute it in such a fashion that development of more airports can also take place," said the Minister in the Rajya Sabha. Mr Patel was responding to a short-duration discussion on the situation arising out of the procedure followed by the Government for restructuring of Delhi and Mumbai airports and taking up of the modernisation of these two airports by the AAI.
The Minister also sought to allay Members' fears that the transaction would lead to any financial loss for the AAI.
"The actual profit of the AAI during 2004-05 was Rs 325 crore. Based on the bids received for the two airports, it is estimated that profit after tax for 2006-07 will be Rs 548 crore," he said.
Furthermore, the interests of the workers have been protected as all of them will go on deputation to the new company for three years, after which they would take more than 60 per cent of the work force.
The rest will be taken back by the AAI.
The Minister added that the Mumbai airport would have two runways after modernisation through relocation of land space.
The Delhi airport would also have more than one runway, he said.
However, alleging that a land scam was taking place in the modernisation of the two airports the Left Parties staged a walk out from the House.
Taking part in the discussion, CPI (M) leader Mr Dipankar Mukherjee said that the empowered group of Ministers (eGoM) was not authorised to take the decision without Parliament approval.
The e-GoM cleared the decision of awarding the two airports to two separate consortiums led by GMR and the GVK group.
The former Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Sharad Yadav, called for giving navratna status to the AAI.
"The AAI has never taken any money from the Government but has consistently been paying them a dividend. The airports are not being modernised but are being sold," Mr Yadav alleged.
Similarly, Mr S.M. Laljan Basha, Telugu Desam Party Member, called for involving the AAI in the development of the airports.
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