New Delhi: RSS-affiliated trade union wing BMS (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh) has found an ally for its June 10 agitation in a joint forum of unions and associations at state-run AAI (Airports Authority of India). United against the common cause of opposing the privatisation plan announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently, the BMS and the Joint Forum of Unions and Associations of AAI will be protesting side by side across the nation by holding a day-long dharna from 10 am to 5 pm with the slogan of 'Save Public Sector, Save India.'
"In view of the continuous privatization process of Airports of AAI, the joint forum of unions and associations of AAI have decided to join the Nationwide Agitation called by BMS on 10th June, 2020, by holding day long Dharna at all the establishment of Airports Authority of India including the Corporate Headquarters of the Authority from 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs under the banner ‘Save Public Sector, Save India’, to protest against the move of Government to privatize profit-making Airports of the Airports Authority of India," an official statement released by the joint forum said on Tuesday.
The government has recently announced its ambitious plan for PSU privatisation. In the process of privatisation of airports in India, six domestic airports, namely Jaipur, Trivandrum, Mangalore, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Guwahati were given to Adani group in 2019. The Adani group has signed a binding concession agreement for three airports, namely Lucknow, Mangalore, and Ahmedabad Airport. However, Adani Group has expressed its inability to take over these three airports it had won after aggressive bidding last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and sought at least six more months to take over. Recently, the group has written a letter to the AAI board to invoke the force majeure clause and postpone the takeover. Not just this, Adani aviation has also appointed consultants to re-evaluate the viability of the business because the bids submitted by the company were already quite high to begin with and may no longer be viable in view of the economic slowdown unleashed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
'Save Public Sector, Save India'
Altogether the privatisation and handing over process of these six airports now seems to be in limbo. However, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is also preparing to privatise six more domestic airports Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Raipur and Trichy. In order to oppose the government's continued privatisation process of airports, the joint forum of unions and associations of AAI has decided to join the nationwide agitation called by BMS.
Social distacing at Dharna
The association has said that amidst COVID-19 all the guidelines issued by the government about agitation and protest will be followed. The members taking part in the protest will strictly adhere to the norms of social distancing. The day-long dharna will begin at 10 am on June 10 at all the establishments of the Airports Authority of India, including the Corporate Headquarters of the Authority at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan.