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    AAI joint forum to protest airports privatisation

    Synopsis

    The Forum has also threatened to resort to agitation from next month by holding lunch hour demonstrations and wearing black badges to protest the move.

    Employees of the Airport Authority of India protest wearing black dress to register their protest against the move to privatize the airport at Trivandrum International Airport. (File Photo)
    MUMBAI: The joint forum of AAI unions and association has urged the AAI chairman to convene a meeting to discuss the concerns in details over the handing over of six airports to Gujarat-based conglomerate Adani Group.

    In a letter to chairman last week, the Forum has also threatened to resort to agitation from next month by holding lunch hour demonstrations and wearing black badges to protest the move.

    Last year, the government had decided to privatise airports in Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati for operation, management and development through public-private partnership (PPP) model.

    In February, Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) won the rights to run these six airports after competitive bidding. The government last month said the AAI has issued letters of award for handing over Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports to AEL after the Cabinet nod.

    Moreover, the former AAI chairman and now secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Guruprasad Mohapatra, while leaving the chairman's office on July 31 had said that the government had plans to exit from 20-25 more airports in the next phase of privatisation.

    "Under the banner, we have decided to wear black badges and resort to lunch hours demonstrations in front of Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan (which houses civil aviation ministry) and all the AAI establishments between Sept 2 and Sept 6," the Forum said in the letter, dated August 23.

    Stating that the AAI unions/associations have decided to come together under one banner, 'joint forum of unions and associations of AAI', to protect the AAI and safeguard the interests of employees beside explaining the impact of the privatisation, the letter said, "the recognised union and associations have raised their voice at various levels but unfortunately, their voices/concern (remain) unheard."

    The Forum comprises airports authority employees union, airport authority officers association and Indian Airports Kamgar Union.

    The forum also termed the government's move as "arbitrary and unilateral" and said that the "hasty" decision to privatise/leasing out six airports have raised several questions before stakeholders as the same was taken without deliberation on the future of the employees and AAI and its impact on the users on the services provided by the private operators.

    The copies of the letter have also been sent to the aviation minister and aviation secretary.

    "The AAI is generating its own resources within its limited internal resources with all restriction imposed by the central government and without any budgetary support for maintaining the airports including the loss-making besides constructing, developing and maintaining world-class airports such as Chennai and Kolkata as well as the newly constructed Pakyong airport, among others," it said.

    Moreover, the Forum said in the letter, the recent announcement made by the outgoing chairman Mohapatra has put a shadow on the existence of the AAI.

    "We sincerely hope that a sympathetic consideration of the concerns of employees will be taken care of by your good self and Government/AAI and (you) will convene a meeting of the forum to discuss the concerns in details and restrain from indulging in privatisation/leasing of any other airports of the authority," the letter stated.
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    18 Comments on this Story

    Pavan Joshi387 days ago
    Because AAI is generating its own resources to managing the existing airports and building new one''s, probably it falling out of political flavour. Politicians want someone to take loans, pay kickbacks and eventually siphon off public funds and make it look unsustainable when Govt will again pitch in and dole out taxpayer''s money to bail out the black sheep. Unfortunately, even this Govt is hellbent upon keeping it''s due diligence to itself.
    H K Doshi Doshi387 days ago
    Era of Union and strikes are over. No one like strike and disruption of services. Communist party is already out of power and public favour from their fort like states W Bengal and Tripura and also in Kerala. Forget strike and work hard to get good reward.
    Rohan 387 days ago
    Private Companies need to be under some Kind of Watch and Supervision. That is not happening as of now. Owners and Directors have been able to Siphon off Millions of Taxpayers money offered to Private firms as loans. IL&FS is the Case, Hundreds of Builders are example of greed and Dishonest practices of owners. Corporate Governance Rules don’t exist in India. This is the reason Airport authority of India are protesting, they have lost faith in babus and Minister dominated system
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