AAI Serves termination notice to local shopkeepers at Srinagar airport, Owners protest, Allege bias

Shopkeepers at the Srinagar airport today staged a protest here after they were asked to vacate the premises by the authorities.
The protesters, who gathered at the Press Enclave, alleged that there were being discriminated against as a large number of shopkeepers and salesmen would be rendered jobless.
“Some time ago, a tender was floated for leasing out the entire space at the airport to a master concessionaire, who would in turn run it as per his convenience. The qualification for tendering were fixed in such a way that hardly any local entrepreneur could qualify. Moreover, this action will render hundreds of local employees jobless,” the protesters, in a statement, said.
Stating that the shopkeepers had been asked to vacate the premises within six months, the protesters said qualifying as a concessionaire required having a minimum annual turnover of Rs 6.5 crore and tie-up with two international and one national brand.
“Kashmir has been singled out for this discrimination as no such tender has been floated for the Jammu airport, which caters to much more traffic than the Srinagar airport. This action of the Airports Authority of India is one more step in the direction of crippling the local entrepreneurs while benefitting businesses from outside the state,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), headed by its president Javid Ahmad Tenga, raised the matter with Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha in New Delhi.