On Monday, the Kerala High Court dismissed the state government’s petition against the Adani Group’s takeover of the Thiruvananthapuram International airport.
Earlier on 21st August, the state government had filed an application against the Centre’s decision and sought a stay on further proceedings to lease out the airport to Adani Enterprises. The plea followed an all-party-meeting in the state demanding the withdrawal of the Union Cabinet decision.
Unless the stay is granted, “it will be put to irreparable injury and hardship”, the state government said in its application challenging the Centre’s move to privatize the airport.
The government had contended that the attempt of the AAI to grant the right of operation, management, and development of the airport to Adani Enterprises Limited which has no previous experience in managing airports, was not in the public interest and violated the provisions of the Airports Authority of India Act as well as the proprietary right of the State Government over the land where the airport was situated.
Earlier the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), formed to participate in the bid, had lost out to Adani Enterprises’ winning bid for the airport’s lease and maintenance by a relatively narrow margin of Rs 16 per passenger. The GMR Group was the third bidder.
“The state government will take this forward through all legal means, including petitioning the Supreme Court,” 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 citing that the state had done everything for the airport, including providing land.
Meanwhile, the Centre argued that the state government did not have the right to approach the court after failing in the bidding process. The airport has been leased out to a private entity in the public interest, asserted the Centre.