GMR considers legal ways to stall Telangana government's airport plans near Hyderabad
The development comes after Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Monday that Hyderabad needs two more airports — one each at Shamirpet and Ghatkesar.
The development comes after Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Monday that Hyderabad needs two more airports — one each at Shamirpet and Ghatkesar — to meet the needs of the city’s population which is expected to swell in a decade to 3.5 crore from 94 lakh now.“The GMR management believes that the chief minister’s statement on new airports goes completely against the protective clauses of the concession agreement,” said a person who is aware of the infrastructure firm’s thinking on the issue.
The December 2004 concession agreement with undivided Andhra Pradesh is valid for 30 years and gives GMR the option of extending it by a similar period. It says that no new airport should come up within a 150-km radius of Hyderabad during the concession period. The first phase of the airport project took off in March 2008 involving investment of Rs 2,900 crore.
The latest move by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi government is being perceived by many as yet another attempt to renegotiate contracts awarded to businesses by undivided Andhra Pradesh. After asking L&T to change the alignment of the Hyderabad metro rail project, the government is trying to retrieve land bought by Lanco group in a global competitive bid.
“GMR is planning to approach the state government first and then consider moving the union aviation ministry instead of waiting till the Telangana government formally announces tenders for new airports in Hyderabad. Seeking first right of refusal for developing new airports is one of the last few options that GMR group is considering,” the source said.
Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO at the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said, that two new airports close to Hyderabad is not a feasible or realistic proposition. “I don’t see this getting executed at all.”
A GMR group representative declined to comment. A delegation of senior GMR group representatives met the chief minister KCR on Wednesday.
Describing a Wednesday meeting between senior GMR executives and the chief minister as prearranged one, a senior Telangana minister said the government has not communicated its proposal officially to GMR and the company has not raised the issue so far. “However, the government thinks that it is obligated to honour concession agreements entered into with the business houses. At the same time, keeping in view the growing needs of Hyderabad and vision of the chief minister, the government may consider offering rights over the proposed airports to GMR.” The GMR Hyderabad International Airport has a capacity of 12 million passengers and operating at two-thirds its capacity. It has flexibility to expand to 40 million passengers a year.