The first Chief Minister of Assam, Bharat Ratna Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi has been insulted in his own homeland as the Adani Group who is set to take over the Guwahati International Airport which is named as Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport has now been named as Adani Guwahati International Airport.
What can be more shameful and insulting for a renowned politician of India, the son of the soil Gopinath Bordoloi when the airport which has been named in his memory has been renamed under multinational conglomerate company, Adani Group.
The Adani Group on Monday began its “Observation Period” at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport in Guwahati as part of its mandate to develop and modernise northeast India’s main airport, officials said.
An Airport Authority of India (AAI) official said that a nine-member team of the Adani Airport Holding Ltd (AAHL) led by Chief Airport Officer Utpal Baruah, an aviation industry expert who also hails from Assam, formally started its “Observation Period” and is likely to take over charge in October.
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport also known as Guwahati Airport and formerly as ‘Borjhar Airport’, is the primary airport of the North-Eastern states of India. It is the 11th busiest airport in India. It is located at Borjhar, 26 km (16 mi) from Dispur, the capital city of the state of Assam and 28 km (18 mi) from Guwahati and is named after Late Gopinath Bordoloi, a freedom fighter and the first Chief Minister of Assam after India’s independence. The airport is managed by Airports Authority of India and also serves as an Indian Air Force base.
The airport has undergone numerous expansions and renovations since its establishment in 1958. It handled more than 3.7 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 36% from 2016. The LGBI Airport has witnessed annual traffic of over 23% in 2018–19 with a total footfall of 5.7 million passengers and 55,066 aircraft movements in the same period. The existing terminal building at the airport has a maximum handling capacity of 850 arrival/departure passengers an hour.
In 2002, the first international flight operated by Air India from Guwahati to Bangkok, using an Airbus A310 aircraft, becoming the first international airport in the North-East region. However, the flight was withdrawn due to poor passenger load.
An AAI official on condition of anonymity said that as per the agreement with the Centre, existing AAI personnel would support the company for a period of three years.
Land near the airport had also been given to the AAHL on lease basis for a period of 50 years in a bid to develop aviation-related business and related services.
In 2018, the Central government leased out six AAI airports — Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram, and Mangaluru — for operation, management and development under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
“The Centre took the decision to enhance the revenue of the AAI and augment the economic development in these areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure,” the AAI official said.
The Adani group had emerged as the successful bidder for all the six airports.
The AAI has undertaken a Rs 650 crore project to develop the airport to boost air connectivity in the mountainous areas.
Currently there are 15 airports in the northeast region — Guwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur, Lilalabari and Rupsi (Assam), Tezu and Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Agartala (Tripura), Imphal (Manipur), Shillong (Meghalaya), Dimapur (Nagaland), Lengpui (Mizoram), and Pakyong (Sikkim).
Many airports in India have been taken under Adani Group. The Adani Group in a newspaper advertisement published on August 17, 2021 wrote as Adani Guwahati International Airport. The advertisement has asked invitation for bidding process for various non-aeronautical services at LGBI Airport.