|Members of Airports Authority Employees’ Union stage a demonstration in Guwahati on Monday. Telegraph picture
Borjhar, Sept. 23: The Centre’s plan to involve private players in the development and management of Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport has run into rough weather.
A section of employees of Airports Authority of India (AAI), NER, under the banner of the Airports Authority Employees’ Union, NER, Guwahati, staged a demonstration on the premises of their office here today. They opposed the move to involve private players in managing airports under the public-private partnership model.
Official sources said the AAI had constructed a new terminal building and other aeronautical infrastructure at LGBI airport at a cost of nearly Rs 200 crore and had decided to look for private partners to garner additional resources for development.
A source said the successful bidders would be responsible for operating, managing and developing the airport and would have to invest Rs 600 crore for its development.
The investment has to be made within three to four years in accordance with future development plans, which include construction of a new integrated terminal building with a multi-level car park, a new fire station, a parallel taxi track (subject to availability of land) and a 557-metre runway extension, among others.
The airport, which has been doing well of late, recorded 22.4 lakh passengers in 2011-12.
Pabitra Das, regional secretary of the union, said the interests of all employees would be harmed once the airport was privatised.
The union also sought chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s intervention to protect LGBI airport from privatisation.
Sources in the union said the agitation would continue for 10 days, barring Saturdays and Sundays.
Official sources said the private partners might levy tariffs at rates fixed by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority from airport users for aeronautical services and development under the Aircraft Act, 1934. But, at the same time, it would have to protect the interests of Airports Authority of India employees.