GUWAHATI: In a significant move four prominent citizens have moved the Gauhati High Court challenging the Centre’s decision to privatize the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport at Borjhar here.
Noted intellectual Hiren Gohain, former legislator Holiram Terang and journalists Haidar Hussain and Manjeet Mahanta have filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) (number 11/2019), with a plea before the high court to quash of the Centre’s decision to privatize the LGBI Airport.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had floated a request for proposal on December 14, 2018, for selecting an entity/entities for undertaking the operations, management and development of LGBI Airport for 50 years.
A division bench of Gauhati High Court comprising Chief Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Arup Kumar Goswami recently issued notices to the Centre, the AAI, the regional executive director (Northeast region) of the AAI, the airport director of LGBI and the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India, seeking their response to the PIL. The high court will hear the PIL on February 22.
The Airports Authority Employees Union (AAEU), Northeast Region, has been undertaking a series of agitation programmes to protest against the Centre’s decision to privatize the LGBI Airport. The Union said despite initiating several ambitious projects by the AAI to modernize the LGBI Airport the Centre has suddenly decided to privatize the airport.
Describing the move to privatize the airport as “mala fide”, the petitioners pointed out that the decision has led to a public outcry when the LGBI Airport is making profits.
“A perusal of the account statements of LGBI Airport would reveal that it had made profit of Rs 73.54 crore and Rs 45.75 crore in 2016-17 and 201718 respectively. As such, it is totally incomprehensible as to why the authorities are so keen to lease out an establishment, which is making profits,” the petition said.
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