Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 4: Opposition Congress-led UDF (United Democratic Front) on Monday staged a walkout from Kerala Assembly in protest against denial of an adjournment motion seeking discussion in tax cut on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to three airports in the State.
Alleging that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had shown over enthusiasm to support Kannur Airport in his home district by reducing tax on ATF to one per cent, the Opposition said he was acting as the Chief Minister of Kannur district only, not of Kerala.
Seeking the leave of the House to move an adjournment motion on the issue, MK Muneer of IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) urged the Government to reduce the tax to three other airports, Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
The Government, which reduced the tax only to Kannur Airport, should have been impartial in the case of other three airports, the IUML member added.
In his reply, the Chief Minister said the tax on ATF was reduced to one per cent for Kannur Airport extending support as a newly commissioned Airport.
However, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala quested why the Chief Minister did not implement his own Cabinet decision in 2017 to reduce the ATF tax to 5 per cent from 29 per cent to three other airports.
This shows that the Government had a hidden agenda to promote the Kannur Airport neglecting the demand of the managements of the three other airports, he added.
Meanwhile, the IUML member said the Government is also not showing interest to acquire land for the further expansion of Kozhikode Airport. He also offered all support to acquire 136 acres of land for the development of Karipur Airport in Kozhikode.
MK Muneer said, already three flight services from Kozhikode to Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore -- were cancelled. More than 300 flights are fly over skies in Kerala every day. Now, flights depend on Sri Lanka and other airports to get the fuel in low cost.
The Chief Minister said the ATF tax on Kannur Airport was reduced as part of including it in the Centre's Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) under Regional Connectivity Scheme. The Government was also actively considering setting up of another airport near Sabarimala, he added.
The other airports are not eligible for UDAN benefits under the scheme, he added.
Following the reply, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan denied permission to move the adjournment motion.
Later, the Opposition members, in protest against the Government stood on the issue and staged the walkout. (UNI)