Government hastening Kolkata, Chennai airports modernisation

May 9th, 2008 - 11:06 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Friday said the modernisation of Kolkata and Chennai airports has been delayed by a few months, but the government was speeding up the process of short-listing companies for the purpose. Reacting to Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury’s appeal to the prime minister to check the “back-door” privatisation of the process, Patel said the terminals would be managed and maintained by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

“It is only the allocated commercial space that would be run by private parties,” he said.

Yechury in a letter to Prime Minister Manmoham Singh said certain arms of the government were deliberately delaying the process in order to privatise the modernisation of airports through the backdoor.

Yechury is also the chairman of parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture.

Asked about Yechury’s complaint, Patel said other members of the standing committee have also raised their opinions in the inter-ministerial group (IMG).

“But this does not mean that these were the views of the government. The Planning Commission has also given suggestions,” the minister added.

He said the government cannot go by what the IMG has said.

The prime minister’s infrastructure committee has decided that the non-metro airports would be managed and maintained by the AAI and the city-side development will be done only through joint venture partnerships.

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