As many as 10 trade unions on Tuesday condemned the government's proposal to privatise more airports and stake sale in Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
"Granting the airports to a single business entity and group would lead to monopoly and the group will squeeze the extra revenues from passengers and airlines," a joint statement by the ten central trade unions said.
There were income leakage and loss of revenue for the Airports Authority of India at Mumbai and Delhi airports in the past, the statement said.
Hence, it said, "this privatisation of airports should be immediately stopped as it would escalate the cost of the airline travellers and airlines as well".
After the announcement by civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on August 18 that his ministry would place a proposal for further privatisation of airports before the Union Cabinet, it rubber stamped the proposal for leasing out three airports - Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram - through public private partnership (PPP) on August 19, the statement said.
So far, 12 airports have been cleared this year for privatisation -- Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Raipur and Trichy.
The Airports Authority of India owns and manages more than 100 airports across the country.
None of them is making losses, the unions claimed, adding that Thiruvananthpuram airport, the first international airport in independent India, makes a profit of Rs 125 crore every year.
"Kerala Government has offered to run it and the matter is sub-judice. Yet the Central Government is bent on preempting the Kerala Government. The Kerala Assembly passed a unanimous (including the lone BJP MLA) resolution on 24th August 2020 against handing over the Airport to Adani Group," the statement said.
Now, on August 21, there were media reports on the government's move to sell its stake in IRCTC as well, the unions noted.
The unions condemn the central government's fetish for privatisation and sale of all their assets to their cronies and warn that this step is against the interests of the ordinary commuters, and urge the Central Government to withdraw its latest proposal, it added.
The ten central trade unions are INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC.
The other two central trade unions are the RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU).
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