For Vayalar Ravi who got the additional charge of civil aviation in the latest cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, it is sweet revenge. Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front government had recently snubbed him by objecting to the inauguration of the new terminal of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport by him.
Ravi was supposed to inaugurate the terminal in August last year but the VS Achuthanandan government had communicated its strong objection to the aviation ministry and insisted that the new terminal would be opened by only by the prime minister.
“We want someone big to inaugurate it, not any jobless minister,” a senior CPM leader had said.
However, owing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's hectic schedule, the inauguration had to be postponed indefinitely. The state government was willing to wait because it wanted to highlight the new terminal as one of its major achievements in the run-up to the Assembly elections due in April-May.
And thanks to its adamant posture, the new terminal — built at a cost of Rs 300 crore —is still not operational.
With Ravi now becoming the civil aviation minister, the embarrassed state government will now not only have to seek his help in getting the terminal commissioned, it will need Ravi's support for all other civil aviation-related requirements of the state. The state government plans to operate both international and domestic services from the new terminal.
After taking over his new assignment, Ravi, who is also overseas minister, said he would carry forward the policies and implement the programmes initiated by his predecessor (Praful Patel) and strive to bring about improvement in the financial position the aviation sector.