Protesting against the Centre’s decision to lease out the airport here to Adani Enterprises, the ruling CPM in Kerala on Friday said it would send two lakh emails to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposing the move.
“Party workers and representatives at various levels will send emails to Modi to express the state’s sentiments on the matter,” CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters here.
An all-party virtual meeting called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Thursday demanded withdrawal of the union cabinet decision to lease out Thiruvananthapuram airport to the Adani group, while the Centre maintained that the state government had failed to qualify in the bidding process that was carried out in a “transparent manner”.
The CPM on Friday demanded that the Union government hand over the airport to the state government and said it would not allow its takeover by the Adani group.
“We will not allow privatisation of the airport. It cannot be handed over to private hands,” Balakrishnan said.
“The centre’saim is to hand over airports to corporates. All airports and seaports are being handed over to the Adanis,” he alleged.
Setting aside political differences, all parties should join hands with the state government in this fight against the privatisation of Thiruvananthapuram airport, he said.
Alleging huge corruption was involved in the Centre’s decision, the Marxist leader recalled that Union minister V Muraleedharan, who has justified the move, had opposed it in 2018.
“We need to put pressure on the Union government to change the decision. The state government is prepared to take over the airport. During the pandemic, such a decision by the centre smacks of huge corruption”, he alleged.
He also urged all MPs to intervene in the matter. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who has welcomed the Centre’s decision, should change his stance and stand with the state’s interests, Kodiyeri said.
After the all-party meeting, Vijayan once again wrote to the prime minister on the matter and informed him about the decision taken and requested him to reconsider the move.
The Chief Minister had told the meeting that the state government had asked for the management and the operation of the airport with the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which it will be the major shareholder.
Union Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said the Kerala government did not qualify in the bidding process, which was held in a transparent manner.
Adani Enterprises won the rights to run six airports — Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati — through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode after a competitive bidding process in February, 2019.