CPI (M) wants airport development fee scrapped
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 01, 2011, 13:33
New Delhi: As Delhi airport started collecting Development Fee (DF) from Thursday, a CPI(M) MP has asked the government to stop it saying it violates parliamentary privilege as the House is yet to adopt an amendment to the rules.

"As per Parliamentary procedure, rules will come into force only after they are adopted by Parliament," K N Balagopal, CPI(M) member of Rajya Sabha, said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He said an amendment to the proposed Airport Authority of India (Major Airports) Development Fees Rules 2011, moved by him, has been accepted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari "as a Statutory Motion and has listed it in the agenda".

This means, the rules have not been finalised or accepted by Parliament and so the rules are not enforceable yet, Balagopal said.

"This is in violation of administrative and parliamentary procedures and, importantly, is also a violation of Parliamentary privileges", the MP said and urged the Prime Minister to urgently intervene in the matter and "direct the concerned authorities to stop collection of Development Fee".

In a recent order, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority has allowed DIAL to levy Rs 200 from domestic and Rs 1,300 from international passengers from Thursday.

Balagopal, who had also written to Singh on the issue in August, claimed that "an amount of Rs 1481.72 crore was collected without any legal provision. The Honourable Supreme Court in a judgement had directed Delhi International Airport Limited to stop this illegal collection".

Maintaining that this amount was "now lying with DIAL", he said, "I had requested you (Prime Minister) to recover this amount from DIAL and use to develop other government-run airports in the country.

"Since this amount is collected without any legal provision, DIAL is not eligible to keep it. As a matter of routine it should have gone to the exchequer of the government," the CPI(M) MP said.

He said he had also demanded that projects under private-public partnership (PPP) should be brought under the audit ambit of the Comptroller and Auditor General "as a huge sum of public money is involved in this".

"But unfortunately, till date ... no action has been taken to recover the illegally collected huge sum of money. Instead, the government has framed some rules and laid them on the table of Rajya Sabha to help DIAL collect the Development Fee again from passengers," Balagopal said.

"These rules have some provisions to overcome the legal laxities pointed out by the Supreme Court. They also attempt to legalise the amount illegally collected by DIAL", he said.

He claimed that the tender conditions regarding the development of the Delhi Airport by DIAL had "no provision to collect the development fee."


First Published: Thursday, December 01, 2011, 13:33

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