Shashi Tharoor faces flak for supporting Centre's decision to lease out Trivandrum Airport

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's decision to support the handing over of the management and operation of the Thiruvananthapuram airport to the Adani group has invited criticism from all quarters including his own party.

Tharoor on Thursday came under fire from state Minister of Tourism Kadakampally Surendran for his support to the Centre's decision to lease out the international airport to Adani Enterprises.

The state unit of the Congress party has also opposed the Centre's decision.

Tharoor's support to the PPP model comes at a time when Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that the state will not cooperate in this decision.

Vijayan has called an all party meet on Thursday to discuss the issue.

However, Tharoor took to Twitter and said, "My position on the airport has been consistent since before the elections. I am not a politician who says one thing to the voters and something else afterwards for political convenience. Had my colleagues consulted me before taking a negative stand, I would have explained my views to them. I am speaking in the best interests of my constituency. As its MP, that is my job."

"The people of Thiruvananthapuram want a first-class airport worthy of the city's history, status, and potential. In this context, a decision, however controversial, is preferable to the long delay we have suffered.

"The reality is that a private entity running the operations competitively is the only way this airport could flourish. Whoever it is, the ownership of the land and airport as well as the responsibilities of the ATC, Security, Customs and Immigration still remains with the Govt agencies," added Tharoor.

Surendran said it was a "shame that a personality like Tharoor is batting for cash rich business people".

"He should not have said this as the stand taken by him is tantamount to cheating and he will have to answer to the people," said Surendran.

The Centre decided on Wednesday to hand over this airport to Adani Enterprises, which is already working on Vizhinjam Port, coming up near the airport.

(With IANS inputs.)

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