Kerala High Court dismisses govt challenge to Adani getting right to develop state capital’s airport

New Delhi (ILNS): The Kerala High Court has dismissed the state government’s petition challenging the Central government decision to lease out the right of operation, management and development of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises Limited. 

The aforesaid plea was inspired by an all-party-meeting in the state demanding the withdrawal of the Union Cabinet’s decision.

Earlier, the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, formed to participate in the bid for the airport’s lease and maintenance, had lost out to Adani Enterprises by a narrow margin of Rs 16 per passenger.

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is among six such airports for which the Adani group won leases in February 2019 for 50 years. The bids were invited by the Airports Authority of India for a public-private partnership model.

After losing the bid, the chief minister of the state had written to the Prime Minister, asking him not to hand over the airport to a private entity, citing the successful PPP model of the Cochin International Limited (CIAL) and Kannur airports. He said the state deserved preferential consideration, taking into account its experience in running two airports.

“The state government will take this forward through all legal means. We will approach the Supreme Court regarding this matter,” said Kerala minister Kadakampally Surendran responding to the dismissal of the petition. “The central government’s decision to ‘sell’ Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to a private player is daylight robbery,” he added.

In 2019, the Kerala government opposed the bid to privatise the airport. It formed Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, only after the Kerala High Court dismissed the state’s petition. The state then approached the Supreme Court, wherein the Court has remanded the case back to be decided based on merit.

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