Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport has now become a topic of conversation for Karnataka’s legislators.
On Saturday, Minister for Energy, DK Shivaumar wrote to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, requesting him to stop GVK Group from selling its 10% share in Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) the company which manages the airport.
According to DK Shivakumar, the GVK group, had in March this year, sold 33% stake to a Canadian company - Fairfax Group and is now planning to sell its remaining 10% stake to Fairfax, which has also acquired 5% stake in the Zurich airport.
In his letter, Shivakumar termed this sale as “a matter of concern” for the “safety and security of the country”.
“If this happens (GVK’s sale of 10% stake), then the shareholders will be foreign ones only with Siemens Project holding 26% and Fairfax holding 74% of the shares. This is not advisable in the interest of offering high standard service to passengers and the safety and security of the country also becomes a matter of concern,” his letter reads.
Shivakumar states that this sale will clearly violate the initial shareholder agreement as it mandates that at least one share holder must have adequate experience and in operating and maintaining the airport, which Fairfax does not have.
“Fairfax Group is only a financial investor and has no experience in maintaining any international airport. GVK Group has turned BIAL into a trading entity and is not catering to the needs of the passengers. The intention of allowing private players in becoming stakeholders was to incentivise them to maintain and operate the airport exceptionally and in return, the state has also provided them with 4,000 acres of government lands,” his letter says.
The senior Congress politician has stated that GVK Group had agreed to complete the construction of the second terminal and said the company’s request to sell the remaining 10% shares should be put on hold and strongly suggested that the government “take control of the management of BIAL”.