Kerala govt’s bid for T’puram airport was 19.64% lower than Adani’s: Minister

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday that Kerala government’s bid for Thiruvananthapuram airport under PPP was 19.64 per cent lower than Adani’s winning bid.

The revelation by the minister came afer the Kerala government opposed the handing over of Thiruvananthapuram airport under public–private partnership (PPP) to Adani Enterprises.

In a statement, the minister said: “If Kerala government is against privatisation, then why did it participate in the bidding process? The state government was given a fair chance and ‘Right of First Refusal’ (RoFR) if their bid was within 10 per cent below the range of the highest bid. However, they bid 19.64 per cent below.

“Then they approached the Kerala High Court which dismissed the petition in December 2019. The petitioners then filed an SLP in the Supreme Court. The apex court remitted the matter back to the Kerala High Court. There is no stay in the case either by SC or Kerala High Court.”

According to the minister, the Union Cabinet has given its go-ahead for awarding the airport to the private party subject to the outcome of writ petition and in accordance with the provisions of the undertaking given by the concessionaire.

“If the petitioners succeed and the outcome of litigation leads to annulment/cancellation of bidding process, then the concessionaire will handover the possession of the airport to AAI. They will be entitled to refund of amount paid to AAI and additional investments made in the assets.

“The concessionaire will also not demand any damages from AAI. Here it should be borne in mind that these airports will come back to AAI after the lease period of 50 years,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal to lease out Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram airports through the PPP mode to Adani Enterprises.

The approval is for their operation, management and development by Adani Enterprises, which was declared the successful bidder in a ‘global competitive bidding’ conducted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a period of 50 years.