Trinamool leader Saugata Roy has written to civil aviation minister Ajit Singh seeking the latter’s intervention to prevent outsourcing of management and operations of Kolkata and Chennai airports.
Roy, the chairman of Airport Advisory Committee (AOC), local MP, and president of Airports Authority of India Staff and Workers’ Union, in his letter had written that “the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has set up a key infrastructure development cell to execute the report of the Planning Commission for development, operation and maintenance of both air and city sides of certain airports through PPP model.”
According to Roy, this step by the central government would obviously lead to privatisation of Kolkata and Chennai airports. Roy wrote, “Such a step would ultimately lead to either transferring or offering voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to all employees at these two airports. Approximately, 2,300 employees are likely to be affected.”
“The plan panel has sent a proposal to the civil aviation ministry regarding this on the basis of which, the AAI has formed a committee. We have learnt that the committee might do two things, either select the best of AAI employees, and the restorall employees would be given VRS,” Roy said. “This is against the interest of the employees. There are approximately 1,100 employees at Kolkata airport and 1,200 at Chennai airport,” he said.
With the cloud of privatisation looming over modernised Kolkata and Chennai airports, employees of AAI have already started gearing up to oppose privatisation. A meeting was organised at Kolkata airport on June 7 where representatives of all unions present at the airport, such as Kamgarh union, Airports Authority of India Staff and Workers’ Union, a TMC union, and Airports Authority Employees Union (AAEU), which has Left Front connections, participated.