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Awarding of contract to Adani Group provisional: HC

Awarding of contract to Adani Group provisional: HC

Kochi: Days after Adani Group had won the bid for operating airports, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday said finalizing the contract for Thiruvananthapuram international Airport would be subject to further orders on the writ petition.

The HC was responding to KSIDC plea that sought to announce the tender process illegal and unconstitutional.

Appearing for the KSIDC, senior counsel Jaju Babu argued that the technical and financial qualifications were twiddled to enable the company sans prior experience in airport management to take part in the tender.

Despite having no required experience, the company has become the most eligible bidder. Also, Adani Group outbidding all fellow bidders had quoted an incredibly high per passenger rates for operating six airports. The group has thus beat genuine bidders to it, leading to what it said was a violation of natural justice in tendering process.

When the government earlier approached the Centre regarding the possible privatization of the airport, the Centre had stated there were no such plans, the petitioner said.

It was affirmed at the time any move to privatization would be done in consultation with the state.

Meanwhile, when the Centre mulled over to try Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, the Chief Minister sent a letter on November 21, 2018.

The missive reiterated the necessity to continue the operation of the airport via an SPV( special purpose vehicle) with the  state as the chief promoter.

The court orally observed that Airport Authority of India should answer the allegation regarding the contract’s viability. The court posted the hearing in the case to March 7.

The six airports of AAI the Adani Group has won include Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati.

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