Members of the Airport Authority Employees Union (AAEU) began an indefinite relay hunger strike protesting against privatisation of airports across the country here on Wednesday.

V. Satish Kumar, Coimbatore Branch Secretary, AAEU, said that protests were under way in 125 airports across the country. Around 130 members are taking part in the protest in front of the Coimbatore Airport.

It was a huge waste of taxpayers money to give away to private operators the airports on which large sums of money have been spent on modernisation and infrastructure. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had spent more than Rs. 4,000 crore on Chennai and Kolkata Airports alone, he said.

Further, he said that it was not in the long-term interests of AAI to give way profit-making airports to private operators. The revenue generated by these airports could be invested in upgrading the existing airports.

The AAEU Coimbatore members also met the Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) during his recent visit to Coimbatore and submitted a memorandum.

Mr. Yechury had conveyed to the AAEU members that the Left Parties stand was that no major decision of privatisation of airports should be taken till the next Government was formed.

According to Mr. Satish, the veteran Communist leader had said that they were also planning to meet various Chief Ministers including Jayalalithaa.

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