Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) Following a massive political furore over the Adani Group's plans to relocate the headquarters of its recently acquired crown jewel -- the high-profile Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) -- from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the company late on Tuesday denied any such move.
"In light of rumours that the Mumbai Airport HQ will be moving to Ahmedabad, we unambiguously state that MIAL and NMIAL airports will remain headquarters in Mumbai," the Adani Group said in a statement.
It also reiterated its commitment to make Mumbai proud and create thousands of jobs through its airport ecosystem.
In a major organizational restructuring on July 18, the Adani Group had said it has decided to shift the headquarters of Adani Airport Holdings Ltd., which runs CSMIA, from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, stunning corporate and aviation circles.
The three ruling allies, Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, strongly castigated the move on Tuesday as part of "a larger design" to downgrade the importance of Mumbai, the country's commercial capital.
Lauding the Adani Group announcement, State Congress Spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that despite all attempts, Mumbai's relevance cannot be diluted.
Earlier on Tuesday, on the AAHL's plans, he said it was "a message from (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi to the people of Maharashtra. The recent 'dandiya dance' at the CSMIA conveyed a lot"
"This whole exercise started 7 years ago when the International Finance Services Centre was also taken away from Mumbai and shifted to Gujarat," said Sawant.
NCP Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said that instead of being concerned about the development of Mumbai, the Modi government is concentrating on the progress of Gujarat at the expense of Maharashtra.
"A few years ago, they decided to link Mumbai-Ahmedabad with a grandiose Bullet Train project. Thankfully, the people of this state have rejected it," said Tapase.
The Shiv Sena's Kishore Tiwari - accorded MoS status - said since the day it took over, the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre has resorted to targeting Maharashtra, with the state BJP nodding its head to the machinations of the Modi government. He warned of an agitation if the Adani Group persisted with the move.
Sawant pointed out that Maharashtra never discriminates against any entrepreneur or industry and welcomes all who participate in the state's development with open arms and dignity.
"Now, next time, along with 'dandiya', organize even a 'lezim' dance at the airport."
Seeing the move as "a conspiracy" to run down Mumbai, Tapase had said it would be inadvisable and urged the Adani Group to respect the sentiments, culture and traditions of Maharashtra.
Tiwari added that on every occasion, the BJP at the Centre and state have resorted to undermining the MVA government and also dilute the pre-eminent status of Maharashtra and Mumbai by shifting major government institutions from here.
"But everything is falling in the lap of only Gujarat and not any other state. Why is this favourable treatment always given to Modi's home state when he is the PM of the entire country," Tiwari asked.
The Sena leader cautioned that it reeks of political malafide and must be opposed by all parties in the state, including the Maharashtra BJP failing which misguided leaders will harm Mumbai in the long run.
On July 13, the Adani Group's AAHL said it had acquired control of Mumbai International Airport Ltd and the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport Ltd.
This makes AAHL the largest private operator of airports with eight under its belt now including Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.