On August 2 (Monday) several Shiv Sainiks barged into the landscaped garden at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), uprooted the Adani signboard and planted saffron flags. The irked members of Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, Shiv Sena party’s labor wing, raised “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki jai ho” slogans while indulging in the act of vandalism.
Maharashtra: Shiv Sena workers vandalise Adani signboard, which was placed near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai pic.twitter.com/mzfypdwp0A— ANI (@ANI) August 2, 2021
The protestors led by Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (BKS) General Secretary Sanjay Kadam, claimed that they were protesting against Adani Group’s unilateral decision of abruptly “changing” the name of CSMIA and replacing it with the Adani Group brand name.
Calling it an insult to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant was quoted by ANI as saying: Airport’s name is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport. They wrote ‘Adani Airport’. Have you bought it? Shivaji Maharaj is the country’s pride. They have done the vandalism. 2-3 people don’t follow laws.
In response to the allegations, the spokesperson of Adani Airports Holding Limited (AAHL), the group’s flagship company for airports business and Adani Enterprises’ wholly-owned subsidiary, assured that the company had merely replaced the previous branding(GVK) with Adani Airports branding and that no change has been made to CSMIA’s name.
“The branding at CSMIA is in compliance with the norms & guidelines of the Airport Authority of India (AAI). AAHL will continue to adhere to all the guidelines laid out by the government in the interest of the aviation community at large”, the Adani Airport spokesperson said.
The branding at CSMIA is in compliance with the norms & guidelines of the Airport Authority of India (AAI). AAHL will continue to adhere to all the guidelines laid out by the government in the interest of the aviation community at large: Adani Airport Spokesperson— ANI (@ANI) August 2, 2021
Has the Adani Group actually bought the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport?
Since this is not the first time the Adani Group has been targeted with accusations that it has acquired the ownership of the Mumbai airport, it becomes almost imperative here to elucidate that contrary to the rumors and allegations, the airport is not ‘owned’ but the Adani group has taken over the management of Mumbai International Airport, from the GVK Group.
On July 13, 2021, Gautam Adani, Chairman of Adani Group, had informed in a tweet that the Adani Group has taken over the management of Mumbai International Airport. The Adani group has actually, taken over the management of the airport from the control of the GVK Group after acquiring 74% stakes in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.
According to reports, the Adani group had bought 50.5 per cent stakes from the GVK Group and 23.5 per cent from minority partners, including Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), and Bidvest Group.
It should be mentioned that prior to the Adani Group, the GVK group, which is also a privately-owned Indian conglomerate, was handling the management of the CSMIA since 2006. However, lately, it had been under pressure from the lenders. Owing to this, the group agreed to sell a 50.5% stake in MIAL to Adanis.
Gaurav Gupta and Karan Adani had joined the MIAL board after the acquisition process was completed.
How opposition parties like Congress have been spreading lies about the Adani group in a bid to berate Modi Govt
It’s rather unfortunate that though all the information is out on the public platforms, oppositions parties like Shiv Sena and especially the Congress party, in their bid to accuse Modi government of indulging in crony capitalism, have always spread half baked information on the airport takeovers. They have often alleged that the Modi government has bestowed Gautam Adani’s company with the proprietorship of the airports because of personal affinity.
However, the fact is that in February, 2021, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) awarded six airports- Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru- for operations, management and development under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for 50 years, The Adani group won the bids for the six airports.
Then in July 2021, the Adani group acquired 74% stake in Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and took over the management of this airport too from the GVK Group which had the management rights earlier. After the acquisition of the management of the Mumbai airport, the Adani Group had announced that it will begin the construction of Greenfield airport in Navi Mumbai in August 2021. The new international airport would be commissioned in 2024.