The Karnataka government is set to raise objections to the decision made by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) regarding the transfer of operations and management of Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) to the Adani Group. MB Patil, the infrastructure development minister, announced plans to write to the Centre expressing their concerns about the decision. The state government believes that it should have been consulted on such a significant matter and intends to question the rationale behind handing over the airport’s operations to a private entity.
“While we can not undo what has been done, we will question the decision.”, said Patil. He also criticised the AAI and the central government’s policy of utilising state resources for airport development without sharing any revenue with the state. He highlighted the substantial recurring costs incurred by the state government to run airports, including expenses for water, electricity, and other amenities. Patil questioned the necessity of these expenses when a subsidiary of the state government could perform the same tasks. He emphasised the importance of the state having control over capital investments in airports.
“We pay for the land, we pay for the basic infrastructure, and then they [AAI] take over for what purpose? To distribute them to private players?”, he added. The Karnataka government is considering proposing changes to the current arrangement. They suggest that all airport land be registered under the ownership of the Karnataka government.
Expressing his objections, he said “Why should we pay when a subsidiary company of the state government can do the same work? We will at least have control of the airport’s capital investments. We will give land on long-term lease and renew it on a 30-year or more basis.”
Alongside the ongoing developments, such as the construction of Vijayapura and Hassan airports, and the tender issuance for Raichur airport, the Karnataka government is also conducting feasibility studies for two more airports. The state is actively working on expanding its airport infrastructure to accommodate future growth and enhance connectivity within the region.