Three new airports to be handed over to Adani Group

Plans for privatisation of airports part of larger neoliberal policies of the Union Government. 

adani

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is set to hand over three airports: Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati to Adani Group by the end of this month. It is said to take over operations of Mangalore, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad airports for the next 50 years based on a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) basis. It had winning bids for the same during auctions. The AAI will begin the process of handing over the Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati airports by signing a concession agreement by Jan 25th, 2021.

The AAI is planning to opt for the PPP in the operations of 6 other airports: Varanasi, Trichy, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Indore, and Amritsar. 

Adani airport
Courtesy: Bharat Karnad

The move to handover Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani, had been met with legal troubles, but ultimately the PPP method was greenlit. The Adani Group is soon to be taking over the Mumbai International Airport Ltd as well as the Navi Mumbai Airport , as it will be acquiring GVK promotor’s stake in the same. Soon, Adani will be the largest private airport operator, with a large number of airports coming under its belt. 

In the Thiruvananthapuram airport case, the Kerala Government had gone to the high court in opposition to the Union Government’s move to hand the airport over to Adani. The high court however rejected the petition, with the argument that the Adani Group had won the rights to the airport via the auctions held the year prior.  

Also Read- After Railways, Privatisation of Power Companies; Many to Lose Jobs

On July 1st, the government announced that 151 railways and 109 routes will come under the control of the private sector. The private sector has invested 30,000 crores into the project, and according to the government, only the driver and guard will be government employees. The rest will be employees of the private company. The government has also opened up a number of sectors such as oil, coal mines, banks, space and atomic energy, to private control like never before. Further with new Farm Laws coming in, privatisation of agricultural trade is heavily encouraged. This marks a strengthening of a neoliberal climate that the government has been operating under, whereby privatisation is encouraged to benefit corporate interests, with legislation and judiciary being key aids in such a process. 

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