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  1. #1
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    Airport not open to public scrutiny: official


    New airport not open to public scrutiny: official
    As Reported By : Swathi Shivanand in The Hindu

    ‘Provisions of RTI Act not applicable’
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    State promoters have 26 per cent stake in BIAL
    ‘It does not amount to substantially financing BIAL’
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    BANGALORE: Soon thousands of people will start using the Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli. Vast expanses of farmland have been acquired by the State Government to develop the greenfield airport. The State promoters have 26 per cent stake in Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the company developing the airport.

    Yet, the ordinary citizen cannot ask for information about the airport from its promoters apparently because the BIAL is “a company in the private sector,” is not a “public authority” and “provisions of the Right to Information Act 2005 and Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements 1999” are not applicable.

    This is the reply that Benson Isaac, an individual who asked for information under the RTI was told by A.R. Rajaram, head, legal, and company secretary of the BIAL. Under the RTI Act, any public authority has to suo motu declare basic information about itself.

    In a letter to the BIAL, Mr. Isaac argued that a public authority, as defined by the RTI Act, is any body or institution that is controlled or substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government. The 26 per cent stake by State promoters in the BIAL, Mr. Isaac contends, is enough to consider the BIAL a public authority and all rules and regulations of the RTI act are applicable to it.
    Airport site

    “The Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation has provided the airport site to BIAL free from all encumbrances under the Land Lease Agreement. Also a State support agreement of Rs. 350 crore would be made available by the Government of Karnataka to BIAL for the purpose of this project,” Mr. Isaac said, quoting from the BIAL website.

    Mr. Isaac also pointed out that in a similar case against the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), filed by Lt. Col (Retd) Anil Hebble, the Central Information Commission had ruled that the DIAL with 26 per cent stake of the State promoters, was a public authority. The same holds good for the BIAL too, he said.

    Acknowledging his letter, the BIAL, in its reply on April 20, 2007, maintained that it was not a public authority and “the question of furnishing any declaration/information suo motu or otherwise does not arise and we sincerely request you to treat the matter as closed.”

    Mr. Isaac has approached the State Information Commission. The BIAL, in its statement of objections before the commission, has disputed Mr. Isaac’s claim. It said that the 26 per cent stake of State promoters does not amount to “substantially financing BIAL;” that the relationship between the parties is that of “a creditor and debtor;” the land has been leased out to BIAL and the company does not own these lands and that the BIAL is required to pay concession fee and is also liable to pay taxes.

    On the question of similarities with the case against DIAL, the Bangalore airport promoters say that “the facts to be looked into and appreciated, is totally different from the case of Lt. Col (Retd) Anil Hebble.”

    The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : New airport not open to public scrutiny: official


    › Find content similar to: Airport not open to public scrutiny: official



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    Re: Airport not open to public scrutiny: official


    A similar case was decided by CIC in "Anil Heble vs. Airport Authority of India" , where the CIC has declared the Delhi International Airport Authority (DIAL) to be a Public Authority and asked to provide information.

    Detailed decision is produced here.

    Decision
    8. The Commission heard both the sides. The Respondents maintained that on receiving the Appellant’s application, they had forwarded it to the PIO of the Airport Authority of India who in turn asked the Delhi International Airport Private Limited (DIAL) for the information. DIAL responded saying that they were not a ‘public authority’ as they held a 74% stake in the Joint Venture Company by the name of GMR. On making further enquiries, the Commission was told that the Government had a 26% stake in DIAL.

    The Commission is of the opinion that a holding of 26 per cent is quite substantial for any company and, therefore, Section 2(1) which states that any body owned, controlled or substantially financed is a public authority is applicable to DIAL and hence they are bound by the directions of the RTI. The Commission, therefore, directs DIAL to provide the information to the Appellant. This must be done within 15 days of the issue of the order. The Commission authorises the Appellant to come back to the Commission in case the information provided is not satisfactory or incomplete.


  3. #3
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    You can get info on BIAL under RTI


    As reported by TNN on timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 15 May 2008:
    You can get info on BIAL under RTI-Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India

    You can get info on BIAL under RTI

    BANGALORE: In a landmark verdict passed by the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC), the consortium company of Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has been deemed as a 'public authority'.

    Dwelling into the financial structure and funding patterns of BIAL, the commission found that the private-public consortia has been 'substantially financed' by the government of India under the Comptroller and Auditor General (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Services) Act 1971, or CAG Act, thus making it (BIAL) more a public enterprise than a private one.

    Hence, now under the Right to Information Act (RTI), citizens are entitled to any information sought on BIAL. "The project (BIA) serves public purpose and the public have a right to know about the proper management of the project," the commission noted.

    This judgment comes in pursuance of a Bangalorean, Benson Issac, seeking information on BIAL under RTI. As per Issac's argument, the government's equity (Centre & State) in BIAL is 26%, for which the government has substantially funded the enterprise bringing it under the purview of RTI.

    In its observations, KIC, which had collected relevant information pertaining to the matter from BIAL and KSIIDC (Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation), found that "even direct financing by the government promoters to this project (construction of the Bengaluru International Airport) is higher than the financing by the private promoters. If the indirect support, which has not been quantified, is also taken into account, the government support would be much higher."

    As per the KIC's findings, the total investment made by the government into BIAL is Rs 434.94 crore, of which Rs 350 crore has been given as a loan under the provisions made by the State Support Agreement (SSA) that has been channelized through KSIIDC. Indirectly, the government has funded BIAL through exemptions from entry tax and property tax for five years; lease of land on concessional rent; waiver of stamp duty and registration charges; exemption from fee for change of land use; exemption from payment of road cess.

    Also, the loan amount of Rs 350 crore will be repaid by BIAL to the government in 20 equal half yearly instalments, the first instalment of which will be only paid in the 11th financial year of the company (BIAL). Funding into BIAL from the consortium of private partners, Seimen-Zurich Airport-L&T, is to the tune of Rs 326.70 crore. A debt of Rs 1,185.09 crore has been raised through banks and financial institutions and Rs 68.50 crore raised though internal accruals.

    The commission has directed BIAL to furnish all the details sought by Issac under RTI within the next one month.

  4. #4
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    Re: You can get info on BIAL under RTI



    Please also see:

    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/2916-a...-official.html

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    Re: Airport not open to public scrutiny: official


    Please also see:

    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/4121-y...html#post14246

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    Full Bench to hear RTI issue


    As reported by DH News Service in deccanherald.com on 22 July 2008:
    Deccan Herald - Full Bench to hear RTI issue

    Full Bench to hear RTI issue

    The High Court will constitute a full bench to hear the case related to bringing Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) under the RTI Act.

    Hearing a petition by BIAL, which had challenged the June 14, 2008 order of State Information Commission to bring it under the RTI act, Justice N Kumar stated that the full bench should be constituted within a week and the matter should be decided within two weeks.

    The BIAL had said that in the entire Rs 2000 crore outlay, only Rs 450 crore was contributed by the state. Of this, Rs 350 crore was by way of loan, the petitioner added, seeking a stay on the order.

    The State Information Commission had directed the BIAL to appoint the RTI officer following a complaint by Benson Issac, whose query seeking suo motto disclosure application was rejected by BIAL saying it was a company with equity participation by private sector to the extent of 74 per cent and the RTI does not apply to it.

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    Re: Airport not open to public scrutiny: official


    how to know which is under RTI and which is not ?

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    Re: Airport not open to public scrutiny: official


    Hello Poonam,

    Welcome to RTIIndia.Org.

    > how to know which is under RTI and which is not ?

    As a thumb rule if an airport is part of Airports Authority Of India then it is invariably coming under the RTI Act, 2005. You can easily seek info from them.

    Plz visit Airports Authority Of India
    There you will find list of Airports and RTI page.

    If it is an upcoming or recently constructed Air Port like BIAL then things are not so clear as discussed and reported in this post.

    So watchout for this page and you will know.

    Sidharth

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