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No rethink, just the way forward

Govt has made its intentions clear on Delhi and Mumbai airport rejig plans.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 04:34 IST
HT Corporate Bureau
HT Corporate Bureau

The Civil Aviation Ministry has made its intentions clear on the Delhi and Mumbai airport modernisation programme: no rethink, just the way forward. And it wants the takeoff soon.

The ministry on Thursday had shot off a letter to K Ramalingam, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman, giving its latest schedule on closing the process. It has convened a meeting on April 4 for the signing of the Operations, Management and Development Agreement (OMDA).

The AAI and the newly formed joint venture companies (JVCs) for the two airports will ink the OMDA. The board meetings of the subsidiary companies of AAI and thereafter of the JVCs will also be held the same day.

OMDA is the mother document governed by the Master Plan for the airport modernisation programme. It details the rights of the JVC to operate, maintain, develop, design, construct, upgrade, modernise, finance and manage the airport. Initially, the OMDA is for 30 years and it can be extended for another 30 years.

The ministry's moves to put the programme on fast track have left those opposing the modernisation process angry. CPM MP Dipankar Mukherjee told HT: "The sanctity of Parliament and judiciary has been thrown out of the window. They are not bothered about the tripartite committee. In fact, the AAI employees union withdrew the agitation on the basis of the assurance that the tripartite committee will look into the issues on hand."

He said the ministry had its own strategy and was not bothered about what the employees union feels. "It's clear that the Government wants to adopt a confrontationist approach with the trade unions."

MK Ghoshal, convenor of AAI Employees Joint Forum, said, "We're not going to tolerate this. We will apprise our leadership and it is not merely the Left or the Right who need to know about this miscarriage of justice."

"We're not against modernisation, but nobody can trample on our rights," he said.

According to the modernisation programme, while the AAI and public sector undertakings will hold 26 per cent stake in the project, the remaining share will be with the private sector.

The Government has placed a cap of 10 per cent on the equity that a scheduled airline can hold in the project, while foreign airlines have been barred from picking any equity at all.

First Published: Apr 01, 2006 01:32 IST