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Victim of politics

The Tata-Raytheon combine's decision to finally to pull out of the Bangalore international airport project shows how political motivations can effectively scuttle good economic decisions. That there is a need for an international airport of global standards at the software city is clear. A number of MNCs have set up facilities in the city, and it is only logical that to encourage further foreign investment in the region, international quality infrastructure facilities be made available. The airport project, hanging fire for over two years due to bureaucratic and political hurdles, would have gone a long way in sending positive signals to foreign investors.

However, as it is the second time the US-based Raytheon Infrastructure Services has had to give up its investment plans in India, the first being the alumina project in Gujarat, negative signals will be sent out to the global investing community.

The global tender for the second airport at Bangalore was floated, as Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which The Tata-Raytheon combine's decision to finally to pull out of the Bangalore international airport project shows how political motivations can effectively scuttle good economic decisions. That there is a need for an international airport of global standards at the software city is clear. A number of MNCs have set up facilities in the city, and it is only logical that to encourage further foreign investment in the region, international quality infrastructure facilities be made available. The airport project, hanging fire for over two years due to bureaucratic and political hurdles, would have gone a long way in sending positive signals to foreign investors.

However, as it is the second time the US-based Raytheon Infrastructure Services has had to give up its investment plans in India, the first being the alumina project in Gujarat, negative signals will be sent out to the global investing community.

The global tender for the second airport at Bangalore was floated, as Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), whichruns the existing one for commercial use, wanted to discontinue the service. The Tata consortium had signed the MoU on the basis of the Karnataka government's assurances that HAL would stop commercial operations after the new airport came up, the site of the new airport would be at Devenahalli near Bangalore and that the project would be set up on a build, own and operate basis. The three stipulations have, however, been challenged by individual politicians and political parties, leading to inordinate delays in granting final approval to the project. The project was a good business proposition for the Tata consortium, and so they had opted for it. Had the government too treated it as a commercial decision and the issue had not been unduly politicised, Bangalore would soon have had an international airport of global standards.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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