Amidst a raging exchange of words between the civil aviation ministry and the planning commission over who is responsible for the mess at Delhi airport, the Parliamentary Standing Committee dealing with the issue has summoned both sides to explain their case.
Civil aviation minister Praful Patel and planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia are locked in a public spat on the delay in airport modernisation. Ahluwalia has described the passenger service situation at Delhi’s international airport as ‘pathetic’ whereas Patel has accused planning commission of holding back modernisation plans of Chennai and Kolkata airport. The commission had hit back saying the decisions on modernisation of airports has been taken in the Committee of Infrastructure (COI) having civil aviation secretary as one of its members.
Now, the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, headed by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, has sought all documents on modernisation of airports from the commission’s principal advisor (infrastructure), who is also member secretary of COI, for examining the issue in detail. The agenda of the meeting is to examine the government’s policy on modernisation of airports and related issues and its report is expected during the monsoon session of Parliament.
The committee had sent a similar notice to the civil aviation secretary asking for all relevant information on modernisation to be given to the committee and its members.
The ministry has been blaming the commission for delay in modernisation of existing airports.