New Delhi: Amidst stiff opposition from the Airports Auhtority of India (AAI) employees’ union, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday stood firm on the airports privatization move and said that the government was going to do whatever was in the interest of the country.
“Those who want to oppose will oppose and those who want to support will support... you do what is in the interest of the country," Raju said in response to questions on whether the government would do a rethink on its privatisation policy in the wake of the Airports Authority Employees Union (AAEU)’s opposition to the move.
Speaking to reporters, the minister also said that he would like to see the “details," if AAEU would share them, backing the union’s allegations that if the government goes ahead with the plan, it would be the “first inevitable scam" of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.
“If it is a scam, I would like to see the details of the scam... how it has happened... the modus operandi. My job is to stamp out scam," Raju told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar, ‘Transforming Indian Airports into International Cargo Hubs’, organised by the Air Cargo Forum India.
Thousands of AAI employees yesterday held demonstrations at airports across the country against the move and also threatened to impose a shutdown to press their demand for the process to be stalled. AAEU general secretary Balraj Singh Ahlawat, who led the protest at the AAI headquarters, has claimed that if the government were to hand over its airports to the corporates, it would be the first “inevitable scam" of the Modi dispensation.
The AAI had last month invited Request For Qualification (RFQ) from domestic and overseas private players to hand over the management, operation and development of the Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports, in which it has already invested ₹ 5,000 crore.