The LDF government in Kerala and Opposition Congress on Wednesday slammed the Centre over its decision to lease out three airports to the Adani group and charged it with privatising all PSUs while the country was battling COVID-19.
Terming the decision as "daylight robbery", the government demanded that it be withdrawn.
The Congress too made a similar demand and said the airport belongs to the state.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal for leasing out airports at Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram through Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Adani Enterprises had won the rights to run six airports - Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati - through the PPP model after a competitive bidding process in February 2019.
"This should be considered as daylight robbery. The Centre has decided to hand over the airport to the Adani group when the state government, which has immense experience in handling two international airports in a profitable and efficient manner, was ready to take it over," tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran told reporters.
He said the state government has been managing the Cochin and the Kannur International Airports (CIAL and KIAL) in a profitable manner by forming a company.
"They have already sold out our port (Vizhinjam). Now our pride, the airport, has been handed over. While the Centre does not have time to handle the pandemic, they convened a cabinet meeting to hand over the airports to the Adani group for 50 years. This amounts to challenging the people of the country. They should withdraw this decision," Mr Surendran said.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said though the state government had expressed interest in taking over the airport, the centre refused and handed it over to a private company.
"It's the centre's policy to privatise all Public Sector Undertakings in the country amid the COVID situation. We condemn this move. The Centre took this decision after rejecting the state government's proposal to take over the airport," Mr Chennithala said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)