Congress protests at Guwahati airport against privatisation

Guwahati/Itanagar, August 24 (PTI): The opposition Congress on Monday staged a protest at the Guwahati airport against the Centre''s decision to privatise it by leasing out to Adani Enterprises for 50 years.

Besides, the Airport Authority Employees Union (AAEU) has been agitating every day since August 19 when the Centre decided to privatise the Guwahati, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram airports.

"The Congress has been protesting since 2018 when the BJP government decided to privatise the airports. Some people have filed PILs in the court. But not waiting for the verdict, the government took a Cabinet decision to privatise it," the party''s state president Ripun Bora said.

He also said the airport is in the name of the first chief minister of Assam, Gopinath Bordoloi, and it is a very emotional matter for the people of the state.

"We cannot accept this name to go to a private party like Adani group. We will continue our protest till the decision is reversed," said Bora, a Rajya Sabha MP.

The AAEU members also vowed to continue their agitation until the decision to privatise the airport is taken back.

Northeast Congress Coordination Committee (NECC) general secretary Padi Richo alleged that the decision to privatise the region''s only international airport proved the incapability of the BJP regime.

"If such privatisation moves continue, who knows our country could be mortgaged in the name of self-reliance too," Richo said, adding that it is humiliating for the nation.

"Sadly, the BJP government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not even capable of managing the profitable public sector undertakings like the three airports which were under the Airports Authority of India (AAI)," he said.

The ruling BJP said the privatisation move will help improve the quality of services and bring in global standards.

"The private partnership is aimed at improving the quality of services for passengers. The Congress and the Left parties, motivated by purely political motives, have resorted to extreme misinterpretation in this regard," BJP spokesperson Lakhya Konwar said.

He pointed out that the previous Congress-led government at the Centre roped in private partners to operate Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad international airports and all the three airports are providing high-quality services.