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Public Airports by Private Entrepreneunrs

Private companies are being allowed to build airports by the government in smaller cities where acquiring land is becoming issue for the government. The civil aviation ministry has suggested that private entrepreneurs, who possess the required amount of land, be allowed to build greenfield airports in the country.

Asking the finance ministry and the Planning Commission to ‘revisit’ the policy on airports, civil aviation minister Praful Patel said land acquisition for special economic zones was facing major hurdles at present.

The news report also adds the argument for this by the aviation minister:

“The problem is how do we allot new airports to different states or develop infrastructure, without acquiring land… If entrepreneurs can get the land with the support of the (local) people, this would help solve the problem,” Mr Patel said .
I don’t understand this. If Private entrepreneurs can get land from people with their consent, why not government can get the same. Is it because the government cannot or unwilling to pay the fair market price for the landowners or is not able to compete with the private landowners price demands for their land.

If the private entrepreneurs are moving to acquire the land for airport, there will certainly be irregularities in the process, ( we all know how convoluted and a roll of dice isacquiring a piece of land in India) Will the government have a watch dog to look over the process and protect the small landowners from getting fleeced.

I don’t see any indication of any oversight from the government in this and it appears that government is just “outsourcing” the problem areas of a process. I am afraid that it is going to be a sad story for owners and buyers of land near airport or potential business areas.

Hopefully, the government in their enthusiasm to please FIs and local business leaders, is not going to rob the common man.

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