Thiruvananthapuram: With chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan asserting that state government is firm on obtaining rights to manage the Trivandrum International , it is probable that the state will exercise the ‘right of first refusal’ to win the bid if needed.
Right of first refusal is a contractual right, but not obligation, to enter into a business transaction with a person or company before anyone else can.
The chief minister made it clear that the state government will push forward against all odds for acquiring authority over the airport, while inaugurating the LDF convention against privatization of airport held on Tuesday.
“We were left with no choice but to participate in the bid as the central government had ignored our requests and proceeded with the bidding. The state government informed the authorities that while we are okay to hand over the land to airport authority, we would not do the same to any third party. The state government has publically expressed willingness to take over the airport and we have previous experience of handing airports via CIAL,” he said.
Apart from Kerala state industrial development corporation (KSIDC), which is the parent company of the newly formed Trivandrum International Airport Limited, GMR and Adani Group are the two other bidders for Trivandrum airport.
According to sources, the state government is confident in winning the bid and in case, another bidder quotes for a higher amount, KSIDC can exercise the option for right to first refusal so that they can submit a revised bid by quoting higher amount.
“Considering the total number of bidders for Trivandrum airport, which is much less than other five airports proposed to be privatized, it is understood that the state has a brighter chance to win the bid. And no other state has formed a SPV to bid for their airports. The state is successfully operating CIAL and KIAL. And KSIDC will associate with operators with expertise in the field for the management and operation of the airport,” said the official.
Regarding the acquisition of land for airport development, the official said that the government has not committed to handover the land and chief minister has already said that the state will not allot the land to any external party.
Meanwhile, the LDF has decided to observe February 25 as black day when the financial bid for the airport will be opened and has also called for an ‘airport raksha march’ to be held on February 28.