Thursday, July 29, 2010

Civil Aviation Ministry unhappy over private company status of MIPL

Civil Aviation Ministry unhappy over private company status of MIPL 
Ministry has asked MADC to rectify the mistake at the earliest 

Staff Reporter 
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has raised strong objections over move by Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) for registering its Joint Venture Company-Mihan India Private Limited (MIPL) as a private limited company. 
According to Ministry of Civil Aviation sources it as “a very serious matter”. How can a joint venture of two government companies be registered a private company? they wonder. They claimed that MADC has accepted that it was an inadvertent mistake and rectification process is on, but this has raised doubt about legal sanctity of MIPL that now runs the Nagpur international airport. 
The JVC was formed after months of hectic negotiations and after nod from the Union Cabinet to hand-over Nagpur Airport to JVC between MADC and AAI with 51 and 49 equity stake respectively. 
But when it was registered with the Registrar of Companies, the new JVC was christened Mihan India Private Limited (MIPL). The MADC now admits it was a plain mistake.
In a meeting held at Civil Ministry office in New Delhi on April 19, 2010, the officials strongly protested over this serious legal anomaly, and asked the MADC officials to rectify it at the earliest.
“It has been noticed that the JVC has been registered as a non-government company, whereas it should have been registered as a government company,” read the minutes of a meeting between the MADC and the Civil Aviation ministry officials in New Delhi on April 19, 2010. 
The meeting was chaired by the Joint Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation, Alok Sinha and attended by the five MIPL board members, three of who represent the MADC. After the civil aviation officials pointed out what the MADC call “a mistake”, it was decided the error would be rectified and the JVC would be re-registered as a “government company”. According to MADC officials, the process to correct the inadvertent mistake is on.
But the AAI officials wonder if it could be just a matter of oversight, given that high profile IAS officials are involved in the project execution, and Maharashtra Chief Minister himself is Chairman of MADC. To be fair to MADC, it had to fight very hard to get control of Airport amidst stiff resistance from AAI and Ministry of Civil Aviation. The 
The MADC was constituted by Maharashtra Government in 2003 as the special purpose vehicle and as the nodal agency to execute the ambitious Multi-Modal International Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project. The principal demand of transferring airport to MADC was resisted by Civil Aviation Ministry and following a PIL and massive public uproar, the Civil Aviation Ministry finally transferred the international airport in 2008 to JVC.
After many twists and turns in the bitterly fought PIL pending before Nagpur bench, an intervention application filed by well known lawyer Adv G C Singh has questioned the very formation of MADC. Since Civil Aviation is part of List I of seventh schedule of Indian Constitution and therefore only Union Government can exercise right over it, the application has pointed out while demanding that transfer of airport be quashed and AAI be permitted to run airport. 
Even the AAI employees at Nagpur are reluctant to join MIPL and have approached the High Court. Even the issue of MADC or MIPL not having valid licence to run the airport has created another sensation and DGCA has been asked to clarify stand before the High Court.

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