PMO's clarification sought on aviation secretary's decision

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New Delhi, Aug 20 (UNI) A Parliamentary committee has asked the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to clarify how an inter ministerial group (IMG), headed by the Civil Aviation Secretary, deviated from the decision taken by the prime ministerial committee on infrastructure to allocate development of terminal buildings of 35 non-metro airports to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

In its report on modernisation of airports, submitted to the presiding officers of the two House of Parliament today, the panel says the IMG had decided on May 6 to deviate from the decision taken by the Committee on Infrastructure (COI) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and suggest that the commercial operations in the terminal buildings will be done through public-private partnership.

''How can the IMG headed by the Civil Aviation Secretary go against or deviate from the decisions/directions of the COI headed by the Prime Minister himself,'' committee chairman and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury asks in the report.

''The committee, therefore, expects the PMO to issue a clarification in this regard, if the IMG had its approval for deviating from the COI and if not, it must intervene to ensure that the commercial operation of terminal buildings was done by the AAI itself,'' says the report of the parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture.

''The AAI is also of the view that there will be conflict of interests, if private parties and the AAI were involved into this simultaneously,'' it points out.

The committee is, therefore, against the handing-over of the profit-making airports to the private sector in the name of modernisation and reconstruction, especially when the AAI possesses the proven capacity for this task.

According to the panel, the modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports would have been faster if these were done by the AAI instead of the private companies.

''The committee does not agree to the Government's logic that the modernisation of airports can be done only through privatisation. It is a wrong and misplaced assumption,'' it says.


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