GMR pips Reliance, bags Delhi; GVK gets Mumbai
In a close finish, GMR-Fraport pipped Reliance to bag the modernisation contract for Delhi airport, while the GVK-Airport South Africa consortium will takeover the revamping project of Mumbai airport.

The final decision of according the contracts to these South India-based industrial groups--GMR and GV Krishna Reddy--was taken by the Empowered Group of Ministers, Aviation Minister Praful Patel announced in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.

The decision of the EGoM will be send to the Union Cabinet for final approval, the minister said.
Elucidating the bidding process, Patel said that GMR-Fraport combine had matched the highest bidder Reliance-ASA for Delhi airport by offering 45.99 per cent revenue share to the government.

For Mumbai, GVK-South Africa offered 38.7 per cent revenue share.

Giving details of the financial bids, which were opened earlier in the day, Patel said GMR had originally bid 43.64 per cent followed by DS Constructions at 40.15 and Sterlite at 37.04 for Delhi airport.

For Mumbai airport, the top bid was from GVK industries at 38.7 per cent, followed by GMR at 33.03 per cent, DS Construction at 28.12 and Reliance at 21.33 per cent.

What about other airports

Expressing satisfaction over the revenue share offered by the two successful bidders, the minister said that the funds accrued on account of this would help modernisation of other airports, contrary to the belief that privatisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports would affect the financial viability of AAI.

This would help the government to concentrate on development of 35 other non-metro and other airports and help in development of the civil aviation sector, he said.

Asked about Reliance's stand that changes in the tender conditions were "untenable," he said: "The government has taken a decision and stands by it." 

"EGoM has approved the selection of the two consortia," Patel said.
With the Cabinet approval expected on Wednesday, the process will be complete, he said.

No ESMA over strike threat

Meanwhile, incensed over Govt's decision to privatise the airports revamp process, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) employees have launched protest demonstrations in major airports.

Asked whether government would take stringent action to handle the situation arising out of the agitation by AAI employees, Patel said, "ESMA will not be invoked."

Earlier there were reports that government may invoke Essential Services (Maintenance) Act (ESMA) to stop AAI employees from going on strike.

CPI-M Politburo Sitaram Yechury had warned that if ESMA is invoked airport privatisation will become a political battle.

Govt try to appease

In a bid to assuage the agitated employees, Patel said all employees were mandatorily going on deputation for three years to the two airports.

The two successful bidders had agreed to absorb a minimum of 60 per cent of employees working at the two airports, although they were asked to take a minimum of only 40 per cent of the employees after a three year period.

The AAI would retain 10-15 per cent of the workers.

IAF on standby

Meanwhile, the government has asked the Indian Air Force to standby for any contingency.

Reports reaching here said the housekeeping, ground operations, storekeeping employees of Mumbai airport have already stopped work.

However, there were no reports of flight disruptions.



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