At the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), a cup of tea, coffee, and lemon tea usually cost Rs 100 while filter coffee was charged at Rs 150. Over the years, despite many people including celebrities pointed out the inflated costs of hot beverages and snacks in airports, no actions were taken. But things changed after the intervention from the Prime Minister’s Office.
A social activist Adv Shaji j Kodankandath had written a letter to PM Narendra Modi’s office back in April this year raising concern of inflated rates for beverage and snacks inside the airport. He had also pointed that the middle class find the rates exorbitant.
The letter pointed out that Airport Authority of India and Airports are run with the tax levied on citizens, the organisation is “duty bound” to provide common citizens to provide tea coffee and other foodstuff for a “reasonable price”. The Prime Minister’s Office promptly forwarded the letter to the secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation demanding appropriate action.
“I was surprised by the speedy action of the PM Office. As soon as the office received my letter, they called and informed me personally,” said Shaji, an active worker of The Congress Party in Thrissur district in Kerala. Within 5 weeks, the action was implemented and CIAL management, who termed the nature of the complaint as “generic”, slashed the rates by a whopping 85 per cent. All hot beverages and locally made snacks price were slabbed at Rs 15. The order dated also added that stringent actions will be taken against shops that charge exorbitantly.
“Airports are being increasingly used by common man. Passengers wait for many hours inside the lobby. I am very happy that PM Office directly intervened to solve this. Many pravasis from low-income groups will benefit," said Shaji. “I am expecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend this same action in all airports in India by implementing a similar policy at all airports under Airport Authority of India,” he added.