Andhra legislators oppose airport user feeSeptember 6th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS
Hyderabad, Sep 6 (IANS) Members in the Andhra Pradesh assembly Saturday took strong exception to the collection of the user development fee (UDF) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad near here and demanded constitution of a house committee to look into the issue.The legislators cutting across party lines said the collection of UDF by the GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) had put a burden on the passengers, who were already reeling under the impact of a hike in airfare and facing inconvenience in reaching the new airport located 35 km from the city.
They also claimed that the collection of UDF had hit the passenger traffic and demanded immediate steps to do away with it.
The state government, however, turned down the demand for a house committee and said there was nothing it could do about it as the issue comes under the purview of the central government.
M. Venkataramana Rao, minister for ports and airports, said the UDF was levied as per the concession agreement signed by the central government with the airport developer and operator.
Legislators of the ruling Congress party, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other opposition parties said the airport operator had burdened the passengers by collecting Rs.1,000 as UDF from every departing international passenger and Rs.375 from domestic passenger.
They demanded that the government make public the concession agreement signed with GMR.
Some legislators pointed out that passenger traffic due to UDF fell from 22,000 per day in March this year to 18,000 per day in August.
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi demanded that the Haj pilgrims be exempted from paying UDF. All five legislators of the party were on their feet when the minister said the state government had no powers to take a decision in this regard.
The new world-class airport became operational at Shamshabad in March. It began levying UDF of $25 or Rs.1,000 on international passengers from April 23. The UDF of Rs.375 was levied on domestic passengers from Aug 22.