With help from CPM and BSP, the government was spared a major loss of face in Rajya Sabha on Monday over a statutory motion, moved by CPM MP KN Balagopal.
Most opposition parties were supportive of the motion that questioned the government's decision to impose User Development Fee for passengers at IGI airport.
Raising the issue through a statutory motion, Balagopal demanded modifications in the Airports Authority of India (Major Airports) Development Fees Rules.
The money already collected - at least R1,481 crore - by the airport management must be deposited in a separate account and used for improving facilities at airports run by AAI, said Balagopal.
He said they have reservations against this kind of user fee. "Do not kill the hen that lays golden eggs. This is an open case of loot. They can make a profit of 10%, 15% or 25%, but 300% profit is unacceptable."
He also demanded an audit by the CAG on money collected by private airports.
BJPs Najma Heptulla said the government has been sleeping for years in formulating airport rules, and private operators have been charging high user fee. She said taking user charges from incoming and outgoing passengers is unacceptable. Several other members also opposed the fee.
Starting May 15, passengers departing or arriving at IGI airport had to pay more and the move had drawn flak from all quarters.