On Saturday, the Airport Authority of India announced a major decision as the body handed over the Mangaluru airport to the Adani group for a lease period of 50 years. With this, the Adani group now has acquired over six major airports including Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Mangaluru, and Guwahati.
The decision comes after the central government led by the BJP decided to privatize airports in the country. The move that was taken in the month of February 2019 has been met with several challenges. In Thiruvananthapuram, there were protests against the government for its decision. After an intense bidding process, the government handed over the rights of the airport to the Adani group. On Saturday, in the official statement, the Airport Authority of India said,
“In accordance with concession agreement executed on February 14, 2020, AAI handed over handling of Mangaluru @aaimlrairport to @AdaniOnline on lease for 50 years. Exchange of symbolic key held at midnight 00:00 hrs on October 30, 2020.”
Backlash To The Move By The Center
On February 14th, the Airport Authority of India signed a concession agreement with the Adani group for the operations, management, and development of three airports – Mangaluru, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad. On October 22nd, in a press release statement, the authority body had stated that the due process will be completed for Mangaluru, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad airports by October 31, November 2, and November 11 respectively.
There has been a massive backlash by the opposition against the move of the government to privatize public airports. There has also been a public protest against the move. However, the backlash hasn’t yielded any reversal of the decision. Three airports out of the six agreed upon is yet to complete the agreements for operation, management, and development. The three airports being Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram.