Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Friday said the modernisation programme of 35 non-metro airports was on track and said there was no major delay as many of the airports were under various stages of completion.

Reacting to a letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury — expressing apprehension that airports would go into private hands — Mr. Patel said airport terminals would be constructed, maintained and operated by the public sector Airports Authority of India (AAI). “There are divergent views in the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) but that does not mean that the Ministry has taken its final view. There is no ambiguity in our approach. We are firm in our commitment and there is no question of going back on it,” he told reporters here.

Joint venture

He said city side development of non-metro airports would be taken up by a joint venture in which the AAI would remain a major partner.

Referring to modernisation of Kolkata and Chennai airports, he said there were some issues and the process would be completed soon.

In his letter, Mr. Yechury said if Kolkata, Chennai and 35 non-metro airports were privatised, the credibility of the “government will come under question.” He alleged that certain arms of the government were delaying modernisation to facilitate privatisation through the back door.