* NE's biggest airport to be fully privatized by Oct, 2021
GUWAHATI: Utpal Baruah, a veteran in the aviation industry hailing from Assam, will head the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport at Borjhar here when the Northeast's biggest airport will be fully privatized by October this year.
A nine-member team of the Adani Group led has already started the 'Observation Period' at the airport. In 2018, the Centre included the LGBI airport in Guwahati in the group of six airports (Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangalore, Jaipur and Trivandrum) for privatization on the Operations, Management and Development (OMD) model for a period of 50 years. The Adani Group had emerged as the successful bidder for all the six airports.
Baruah has been appointed the Chief Airport Officer of LGBI Airport by the Adani group. He has vast experience of working with the AAI (Airports Authority of India) and multiple private airports in the country. Before joining the Adani group, Baruah was working at Kerala's Kannur International Airport as the Chief Operating Officer. He also worked at the Goa international airport, New Delhi's IGI Airport, Hyderabad's RGI Airport and Cebu airport in the Philippines.
During the 'Observation Period' employees of the Adani Group will start working with the staff of the AAI to get themselves acclimatized with the task at LGBI airport before the management is handed over to the private operator. Only security and air traffic communication at LGBI airport will be looked after by AAI from October.
There are around 440 employees working at the LGBI airport. The airport management has already issued a notice to vacate all 220 AAI quarters at the airport residential colony by the end of this month. The displaced AAI employees at LGBI airport are most likely to be posted at other airports
The Centre's privatization move had resulted in strong opposition and protests by the opposition Congress, various student and social organizations. The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) vehemently opposed privatization of the airport. The Congress termed the move as an insult to the first Chief Minister of Assam, Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi in whose memory the airport has been named.