RS considers bill to regulate aviation sector

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New Delhi, Oct 24 (UNI) The Government today proposed to set up a Regulatory Authority for maintenance of airports, control airfare and protect the interests of both the consumers and employees of the aviation sector.

Presenting the 'Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Bill-2008 in the Rajya Sabha, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the authority would work on the lines of those constituted for the telecom and power sectors. The bill also provide for an appellate authority for the airlines sector.

Participating in the debate on the bill, BJP leader and former Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy blamed the UPA government's faulty policies for the disaster being faced by the aviation sector and said the regulatory framework was required to ensure discipline the sector. He said the recent government decision to extend the credit limit by 30 days would benefit the defaulting airlines while those adhering to the rules would not get any advantage.

Dr K C Rao of the Congress said the Regulatory Authority must have power to look into the non-aviation income generated by the aviation companies by developing malls, hotels and residential colonies being developed on the land earmarked for airport. He cited the example of Hyderabad airport where of the about 8000 acre land allotted for the airport only 120 to 130 acres are being used for airport the rest being diverted for other non-aviation related activities.

Highlighting that the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, headed by Mr Sitaram Yechury, considering the bill was ignored in the final version of the bill, he urged the government to revisit its decision. This would make the regulatory framework comprehensive and holistic and give more teeth to the legislation, he said and added that it would also protect the growing needs of the aviation industry and its employees.

Mr Tapan Kumar Sen of the CPI(M) criticised the government for opening the aviation sector for private players and charged that in the name of competition Private Sector Aviation Companies were being given facilities at the cost of national carriers. This paradigm change from public to private monopoly was very harmful for the country's economy, he pointed out.

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