• AAI Act amendment unlikely to spell out purposes of land use

    The proposed amendment to the Airports Authority of India Act to allow monetisation of land is unlikely to specify for what purpose the denotified land can be used.

    “The idea of the proposed amendment is to allow usage of land as is required at a particular point in time. It is unlikely to define what all the land can be used for as is the case at present,” said a senior AAI official.

    Current guidelines
    In his Budget speech, Arun Jaitley had said the Airports Authority of India Act would be amended to enable effective monetisation of land assets. He added that the money so raised would be used for airport upgradation.

    At present, the use to which land at AAI airports can be put is specified under Section 12 of the AAI Act 1994. The Act states that the land can be used for constructing residential buildings for its employees, establishing and maintaining hotels, restaurants and rest rooms at or near the airports or establish warehouses and cargo complexes at the airports for the storage or processing of goods or arrange for postal, money exchange, insurance and telephone facilities for the use of passengers and other persons at the airports and civil enclaves among others.

    Omnibus category
    Explaining the rationale behind not specifying the purpose for which the land can be used, a senior government official pointed out that at one time there was a lot of demand in various states for land to build malls but now that is on the wane. Wary of such a situation arising again, the government is keen that the proposed amendment to the AAI Act creates an ‘omnibus category’ which will try and take care of use of land in perpetuity.

    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has already sent a note for inter-ministerial comments on amending the AAI Act. Once all the comments are received and reviewed, the ministry will move a note for consideration of the Union Cabinet, an official said, declining to specify a timeline for the proposal to be taken up by the Cabinet.

    AAI is the third largest land owner after the armed forces and the Indian Railways. At the end of March 2015, AAI had about 55,000 acres of land, including 12,500 acres in south India and close to 15,000 acres of land in western India. Adam Foote Womens Jersey

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