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AAI engages PwC as transaction advisor for PPP
New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) Undeterred by protests against privatization, state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) has appointed global consultancy PwC as transaction advisor to bid out half a dozen airports including Varanasi on public private partnership (PPP) basis.
The parent Civil Aviation Ministry (MoCA) has circulated draft cabinet note seeking comments from various ministries such as Finance and Road Transport before putting up the proposal for final government approval.
"We have engaged PwC as transaction advisor. The bidding process for the six airports would start after Cabinet approval. We see significant progress on this by February-end," a senior AAI official said.
The six airports up for privatization are Varanasi, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Trichy, Indore and Raipur.
Unionised employees of AAI have been opposing the government move to offer "profit-making" airports to private players and have got support from Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), an RSS affiliate. Over the last few months, they have escalated the agitation organising sit-in protests to mount pressure on the government to reconsider its decision.
"There is no reason for protests. Their apprehensions are baseless. For attracting the required investment in the airport sector, PPP is the way forward," an Aviation Ministry official said wishing not to be named.
He said that inputs to the draft cabinet note are expected from various ministries and as soon as feedback is received the final note would be submitted for cabinet approval.
The fresh round of PPP has come close on the heels of government privatizing six airports for which Gujarat-based Adani Enterprises emerged winner. While three of these airports – Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru have already been approved for hand-over to the diversified business conglomerate, the process for the remaining three has also started.
The Centre has lined up airport projects worth Rs 1,43,398 crore for development in the next five years. This is part of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) approved by the government. Infrastructure projects worth Rs 102 lakh crore are to be taken up over the next five years from FY20 to FY25 under the NIP.