New Delhi: India's bumbling civil aviation sector has hit another road block with the ministry of civil aviation deciding to refer a proposal to commercially develop regional airports through private participation to the Cabinet. The MCA has decided to refer the matter after differences arose within the government over ownership of terminal buildings at such airports.
According to ministry officials, tenders for the commercial, or city-side, development of regional airports should have been floated latest by the month of May, but conflicting opinion among various government bodies over ownership of terminal buildings has put the matter in the laps of the Cabinet.
Sources say an inter-ministerial group, headed by the aviation secretary, decided to handover maintenance of the terminal building to private developers, but then civil aviation minister, Praful Patel, overruled the panel's recommendation in November last year.
Patel wrote to the prime minister's office (PMO) arguing that the responsibility of maintaining the terminal building should rest with the Airports Authority of India.
In turn, the PMO asked the aviation ministry to involve the Planning Commission, the department of economic affairs and the Airports Authority in preparing the concession agreement.
This draft agreement is yet to be made ready.
The undue delay and internal wrangling is hitting Airport Authority's plans to augment revenues at airports.