Surat Airport Shrouded in Secrecy: RTI Applications Met with Evasive Responses

The Surat Airport administration needs to understand that transparency is not a burden, it's a responsibility. Without it, public trust erodes, and the airport's future becomes increasingly precarious


Surat : Surat citizens seeking transparency at the city airport are facing a wall of silence.  Right to Information (RTI) applications concerning financial records and safety protocols are being met with vague or dismissive answers, raising concerns about potential mismanagement and a lack of accountability.

One RTI activist, who wished to remain anonymous, requested the airport’s profit and loss statements for the past five years.  Astonishingly, the response claimed this information was unavailable.  This raises serious questions about the airport’s financial health and the competence of its administration.  If basic financial data is deemed inaccessible, what level of transparency can citizens expect regarding crucial operational aspects?

Another RTI application requested copies of notices issued to entities violating height restrictions and obstructing flight operations at the airport between 2019 and 2024.  The response deemed the request “not specific” – a flimsy excuse considering the clear timeframe provided.

“Bypassing RTI is an attack on democracy itself. The airport administration needs to understand that transparency is not a burden, it’s a responsibility. Without it, public trust erodes, and the airport’s future becomes increasingly precarious,” remarked a local leader advocating for airport reform.

This lack of transparency stands in stark contrast to the Surat Municipal Corporation, which readily provided copies of such notices upon request.  This discrepancy suggests a deliberate attempt by the airport administration to withhold information.  The motives behind this secrecy remain unclear, but it fuels speculation about potential cover-ups or attempts to shield certain parties.

The opaqueness surrounding the Surat airport’s operations is not merely inconvenient; it has serious ramifications.  Bypassing RTI, a cornerstone of India’s democratic framework, weakens public trust and hinders accountability.  Furthermore, officials who struggle to comprehend and respond to basic RTI inquiries raise concerns about their ability to effectively manage the airport’s complex operations.

“Citizens of Surat deserve better. Transparency is essential for ensuring the airport’s financial viability, operational safety, and overall effectiveness.  The current administration’s dismissive attitude towards RTI applications paints a troubling picture and demands immediate corrective action.  Accountability and transparency are not optional – they are the bedrock of good governance, and the Surat airport administration must be held to these standards.” Said an RTI activist.