Kerala assembly passes resolution against awarding airport contract to Adani Group
The Kerala assembly on Monday unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre not to lease out the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises.
The lone Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member O Rajagopal walked out of the house after he was denied permission to speak in the assembly. Later, police arrested BJP state president K Surendran and many party leaders for staging a dharna outside the assembly seeking the resignation of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Moving the resolution the CM said the Centre should re-examine its decision and allow it to run the airport as a special purpose vehicle in which the state government has a majority stake.
“For the last two years the state has been opposing the move. I have written twice to Prime Minister Modi. Still it was handed over to a private entity ignoring the state’s protest. The Kerala assembly unanimously urges the Centre to reconsider its decision,” the CM said introducing the resolution.
Last week the Kerala government had moved the High Court to stay the decision and it is expected come up before the court in a couple of days. It also called an all-party meet to oppose the decision. But Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor had supported the Union government’s decision saying the private participation will help usher in much-needed development.
While supporting the resolution opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said there was a “criminal conspiracy” to hand over the airport to the Adani group after the government appointed a legal agency to manage the bidding which was represented by the same industrial group. On Sunday, state industry minister EP Jayarajan said the government was not aware of the legal agency’s background.
“We want the government to examine this serious lapse. It is strange while the government opposed Adani group’s takeover, one of the sister companies of the same group was engaged for bidding for the airport. It is a serious conflict of interest,” said Chennithala.
The state government has been opposing the privatization of the airport vehemently and fought many legal battles but the court refused to interfere in it saying it was part of a policy decision. In February 2019, the government-owned Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) had participated in the open bidding for the airport but Adani Enterprises quoted the highest and won it. Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had criticized the state’s move saying it was not right to oppose the move after losing the bid.