Wednesday, September 02, 2009

HC seeks AAI stand on HAL Airport

HC seeks AAI stand on HAL Airport

The court wondered why the authority was silent on the reopening recommendation

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore



The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday sought an explanation from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on the issue of reopening the old HAL Airport.
Pointing out that a tripartite committee recommendation that the HAL Airport be reopened had been accepted by the central government, a division bench headed by Justice KL Manjunath wondered why the AAI had not acted on this despite being informed of the same.
The court sought an AAI explanation on the issue and adjourned the final hearing to Wednesday.
The Airport Authority Employees Union counsel, Tiruvengadam, submitted that on the court's directive, the tripartite committee had met on June 2 and finalised its report.
In its report submitted to the central government on June 15, the panel had recommended for re-operationalising the old airports at Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The panel had also recommended that for effective staffing of the airports, a committee should be constituted to undertake detailed study on the manpower in view of the current competitive environment.
"The Centre accepted the tripartite committee report and informed the AAI about that. But the AAI has not taken any action in this regard," he said.
The Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) was inaugurated on May 23, 2008 and simultaneously, the HAL Airport was closed down on the same day.
City advocate GR Mohan, Airport Authority Employees Union, entrepreneur RK Misra and others have challenged the closure of HAL Airport for commercial flights.
While refusing to stay the notification on the HAL Airport closure, the court had recorded the submission of the Central government counsel that the Airport could be reopened if the parties agreed to the same after renegotiations.
The Centre had sought 12 weeks' time for renegotiations.
On April 16, 2008, the court declined to pass any interim order as such on the closure of the HAL Airport.
But it directed the Union and state governments and the AAI to immediately renegotiate with BIAL on the 131st report of the parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture which had recommended reopening of the old airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad. h_srikanth@dnaindia.net

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