'Kol, Chennai airport modernisation delay'
Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 9, 2008
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today said the commencement of modernisation of Kolkata and Chennai airports had been delayed by a couple of months, but the process of shortlisting of construction firms and related activities were on.
"There has been a delay of a couple of months in Kolkata and Chennai... But we are continuing with the parallel process of shortlisting construction and other companies. It is an overlapping process," Patel said here. Asked about CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury's appeal for Prime Ministerial intervention to check privatisation of the process through the "backdoor", he said the terminals would be "managed and maintained by the Airports Authority of India." "It is only the allocated commercial space which would be run by private parties.
Our view is categorical," he said. When pointed out that Yechury, who is also the Chairman of Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, had referred to a decision of the Inter-Ministerial Group to "privatise" the management of terminal buildings, Patel said "various opinions have been expressed in the IMG. This does not mean that these are the views of the government. The Planning Commission has also given some suggestions." "Government does not subscribe to the IMG's views. The PM's Infrastructure Committee has decided that the non-metro airports would be managed and maintained by AAI and the city- side development will be done only through joint venture partnerships," Patel said. Yechury had said in his letter to the Prime Minister that "certain arms of your government are deliberately delaying the process in order to privatise the modernisation of airports through the backdoor."