AAHL HQ relocation: Maha Cong criticizes move, Adani group clarifies on airports

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(Eds: Adds quotes, Adani group's clarification on Mumbai, Navi Mumbai airports) Mumbai, Jul 20 (PTI) Days after the Adani Airport Holdings Ltd took over the management of Mumbai international airport, Maharashtra Congress criticised the company's decision to shift the AAHL headquarters from here to Ahmedabad, saying it was a deliberate attempt to bring down the importance of Mumbai.

However, later in the day, the Adani group stressed that 'the headquarters of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and under construction Navi Mumbai International Airport will remain in Mumbai'.

The AAHL, the group's flagship company for airports business and Adani Enterprises' wholly-owned subsidiary, last week took over management of the Mumbai Airport International Airport Ltd (MIAL) from the GVK group.

Besides, the group has also decided to shift AAHL's head office to Ahmedabad from Mumbai, the company recently said in a communication.

Criticising the decision, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant in a series of tweets on Tuesday said, “It is a message from (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi to the people of Maharashtra. The dandiya dance (organised) at the airport tells a lot. It is a part of systematic efforts since last seven years to bring down the importance of Mumbai.' Sawant, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and NCP in Maharashtra, claimed the International Financial Services Centre was shifted to Gujarat in similar way.

“Maharashtra never differentiated between any industry or industrialist. Many industrialists came to Maharashtra and became part of the state. The Mumbai airport was previously with Andhra Pradesh-based GVK company. The company never shifted its headquarters to Andhra Pradesh or organised Kuchipudi dance there,” Sawant tweeted.

In a clarification issued from its social media handle @AdaniOnline, the conglomerate said the headquarters of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and under construction Navi Mumbai International Airport will remain in Mumbai.

'In light of rumours that the Mumbai Airport HQ will be moving to Ahmedabad, we unambiguously state that both MIAL and NMIAL Airports will remain headquartered in Mumbai. We reiterate our commitment to make Mumbai proud and create thousands of jobs through our airport ecosystem,' it said.

Sawant later welcomed the clarification from the Adani group, and stressed that the importance of Maharashtra and Mumbai would never reduce in the industrial or other spheres.

On the video showing a group playing dandiya, a dance synonymous with Gujarat, at the Mumbai airport, he said 'next time, also play lezim (a folk dance from Maharashtra) along with dandiya'. PTI ND GK BNM BNM BNM

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