August 30, 2020

CTUs Condemn Proposal to Privatise More Airports and Sale of Stake in IRCTC

Below we publish the statement issued by the Central Trade Unions – INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC – on August 25

AFTER the announcement on August 18, 2020, by the civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri that his ministry would place a proposal for further privatisation of airports before the union cabinet, the cabinet rubber stamped the proposal for leasing out three airports – Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram – through public private partnership (PPP), on August 19. So far 12 airports have been cleared for privatisation: Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati in February, 2020 and Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Raipur and Trichy in September, 2020. Adani group has cornered all the 12 airports so far.

Granting the airports to a single business entity and group would lead to monopoly and the group will squeeze the extra revenues from passengers and airlines. Besides, there were income leakages and loss of revenue for the Airports Authority of India through the past experiences that had happened at Mumbai and Delhi airports. Hence, this privatisation of airports should be immediately stopped as it would escalate the cost of the airline travelers and airlines as well.

The Airports Authority of India owns and manages more than 100 airports across the country. None of them are making losses. The Thiruvananthpuram airport, the first international airport in independent India, makes a profit of Rs125 crore every year. Kerala government has offered to run it and the matter is subjudice. Yet the central government is bent on preempting the Kerala government. The Kerala assembly has passed a unanimous (including the lone BJP MLS) resolution on August 24, 2020 against handing over the airport to Adani Group. It is a slap on the face of the BJP government at the centre.

Now, on August 21, there is a news flash of the government’s move to sell its stake in IRCTC as well.

CTUs condemn the central government's fetish for privatisation and sale of all assets to their cronies and warn that this step is against the interests of the ordinary commuters, and urge the central government to withdraw its latest proposal.