Citizens' Issues
Aranmula, the first private airport in India, is in trouble!

Will the Civil Aviation Ministry help by clarifying the issues on two and three tier towns, and where they would like to open the door for building private airports?

KGS Aranmula International Airport, the first privately built airport, is estimated to cost Rs2,000 crore. It will be the first private international airport in Kerala, after Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kannur, if it is permitted to proceed with the project. This proposed airport lies within 100kms of both Kochi and Thirvananthapuram International Airports. It may be remembered that the statutory regulation demands such airports must be separated by at least 150 air kilometers!


It may be recalled that it was the Left Democratic Front (LDF)-led government that gave the project the initial go ahead, and the state government extended its full support even buying a 10% equity. Now due to various troubles, that are detailed below, the Government of Kerala has withdrawn its support and the construction of the airport has been stooped temporarily.


When the project was started, it received a lot of opposition from the local public led by the Aranmula Heritage Village Action Council. This council had taken a stand that the ecology, culture and tradition of this temple town would be at risk. UNESCO had declared Aranmula as a Global Heritage Village.


The proposed Aranmula International Airport is close to the sacred Parthasarathy temple and the Council had stated that the alignment of the runway might necessitate altering the height of the flagpole of the temple. In addition to this, the distance between two international airports should have been at least 150 air kilometers so that operational safety is maintained.


In addition to this, there have been public discussions and debates, that such proximity to other two international airports like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram would affect their revenues. Some others felt that this new airport could act as a feeder airport to permit low cost carriers flying to and from Gulf airports. Besides, domestic travellers could use Aranmula as a hub because of the tourist attractions nearby.


Despite all this opposition, Giji George, MD of Chennai based KGS AIA feels confident that the first flight would be able to land by December 2015. As against this optimism, the State Secretary of BJP, Radhakrishnan, said that he would raise the issue with the Prime Minister and have the project scrapped. Apart from hurting the religious sentiments of people, as the airport structures will rise above the temples, there have been additional charges of illegal conversion of paddy fields and inappropriate allocation of land.


All said and done, the environmental clearance was received in November and, as stated above, the management had set a December 2015 target for its inaugural landings. Sadly, due to the petitions made by the Aranmula Heritage Protection Council and others, the National Green Tribunal cancelled the environmental clearance, the Tribunal found that the agency, Environcare, who carried out the impact study was not an accredited agency and the public hearing by the Appraisal Committee had not strictly followed the norms set for the purpose. When this happened, the Kerala Government also withdrew its support for the project.


KGS AIA plans to go ahead with the project after getting the Supreme Court's clearance, in the meantime they are also carrying out a fresh environmental impact study by a reputed agency. All these would mean a delay and now the project may be able to get off the ground and have inaugural landings only by December 2016!


The most important issue is now for the Civil Aviation Ministry to clarify the issues on two and three tier towns where they would like to open the door for building private airports; perhaps, they could also mandate that for the time being, private airports can only be used for domestic travel and clearly stipulate that proximity to existing airports should be more than 150 air kms, which is the present norm. Also, they should consider setting up a technical study group which should be able to assess the minimum and maximum land area that can be allocated for such airports, bearing in mind the passenger and freight traffic that the new airport will have to cater at least 10-15 years ahead, as also the type of aircrafts that may utilise these airports.


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)




2 years ago

Heat in Kerala assembly as opposition names Vadra for influence peddling

J Thomas

2 years ago

Kochi, Hyderabad and Bangalore are private greenfield airports. How does Aranmula become the first ?


2 years ago

Ex-landlord of the proposed airport and Kerla's Opposition politicians alleged that Mr. Vadra is behind the airport. But they could not substantiate the allegations.

Robert vadra funds for Aranmula airport alleges Ex-landlord

‘Vadra’s involvement forced Antony to back Aranmula airport project’

SEBI issues new norms for issuance of debt securities

If the issuer does not receive minimum subscription of its base issue size of 75%, then the entire application money would be refunded within 12 days from the date of the closure of the issue, SEBI says

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has issued new norms for public issuance of debt securities under which such offers have to be of minimum Rs100 crore, while issuers would need to make additional disclosures and attain at least 75% subscription.


SEBI said entities coming out with public issue of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) would have to provide granular disclosures in their offer document, with regards to the 'object of the issue'.


Also, an entity has to make additional disclosures in the offer document about details of money utilised from the previous issues of the issuer as well as the group companies.


The new norms would be applicable for the draft offer document for issuance of debt securities filed with the stock exchanges on or after 16th July, SEBI said.


Market watchdog said that the minimum subscription for public issue of debt securities has to be 75% of the base issue size for both non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and non-NBFC issuers.


Further, if the issuer does not receive minimum subscription of its base issue size (75%), then the entire application money would be refunded within 12 days from the date of the closure of the issue.


In the event, there is a delay, by the issuer in making the refund, then the issuer would have to refund the subscription amount along with annual interest of 15% for the delayed period.


However, the issuers issuing tax-free bonds would be exempted from the proposed minimum subscription limit.


SEBI has fixed a base issue size of at least Rs100 crore.


Besides, SEBI said issuers would be allowed to retain the over-subscription money up to the maximum of 100%of the base issue size or any lower limit as specified in the offer document. However, for the issuers filing a shelf prospectus, they can retain over subscription up to the rated size, as specified in their shelf prospectus.


"The issuers of tax free bonds, who have not filed shelf prospectus, the limit for retaining the over subscription shall be the amount, which they are authorised by CBDT to raise in a year or any lower limit, subject to the same being specified in the offer document," SEBI said in a circular.


SEBI said, "entities coming out with public issue of NCDs shall provide granular disclosures in their offer document, with regards to the 'object of the issue' including the percentage of the issue proceeds earmarked for each of the 'object of the issue'.”


Further, the regulator said that amount earmarked for 'general corporate purposes' would not exceed 25% of the amount raised by the issuer in the proposed issue.


Rajat Gupta: From lofty board room to lowly cell

Rajat Gupta began his prison sentence after fighting a protracted legal battle to clear his name in one of the biggest insider trading schemes in the US history

Rajat Gupta, the former director of Goldman Sachs and a one-time poster boy of Indians in the US, has begun his two-year jail term for insider trading while losing his appeal against paying nearly $14 million in civil penalties and ban on serving as a public company officer.


India-born Gupta will now have to pay $13.9 million as penalty in the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s parallel insider trading case against him, in addition to the $5 million fine in the criminal case and $6.2 million restitution to Goldman Sachs.


A three-judge Bench of the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit denied Gupta’s plea to overturn the decision of the district court that had imposed a permanent injunction prohibiting the former McKinsey head from serving as an officer or director of a public company, associating with brokers, dealers or investment advisors, and further violating securities laws.


The district court had also ordered Gupta to pay the $13.9 million civil penalty, equal to three times the profits gained and losses avoided by one-time billionaire hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam.


The setback for Gupta came the same day he reported to the Federal Medical Center-Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, to begin his two-year prison sentence on insider trading charges.


Gupta had “surrendered” to the prison and was undergoing routine medical tests, which could take a day to be completed.


Following the tests, Gupta will be lodged in the satellite camp near the centre.


According to initial information available on the facility’s website, Gupta has been described as a 65-year-old “Asian male”.


Gupta’s appeal was denied by the appeals court, a day after hearing arguments from his lawyer Seth Waxman and the SEC.


The judges Barrington Parker, Denny Chin and William Sessions said in their order that “we find no abuse of discretion in the imposition of injunctive relief and civil penalties on Gupta by the district court. We have considered Gupta’s remaining arguments and find them to be without merit.”


“Accordingly, we affirm the judgement of the district court,” the judges said in their six-page order.


Gupta began his prison sentence after fighting a protracted legal battle to clear his name in one of the biggest insider trading schemes in US history.



Suiketu Shah

2 years ago

Well deserved sentence Gupta gets.USAQ is the USA ,not like India you bribe and get away.Interestingly several people in the stock market industry rightly think India stock market is mainly governed by insider trading.

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