For Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Ambani’s Reliance Group seems to be better than Airport Authority of India, a Central government organisation, in building an airport.
Former Secretary to the Union Government and retired IAS officer E A S Sarma pointed out that the Naidu government was trying to brazenly favour private parties in entrusting the development of Bhogapuram Airport project, at the cost of the AAI.
Though AAI had offered better terms in response to a tender enquiry, the State government had opted in favour of cancelling the tender, making its intention clear, that it would award the project only to a private party.
“According to reports, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group has entered the bidding for Bhogapuram Airport project. It appeared that the State was willing to consider Reliance’s offer.
What distressed us most in that report is that the State had tried to blame AAI without any justification for the delay in proceeding with the project.
The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation should strongly rebut this allegation and expose the State’s reluctance to award the project to a PSU with proven track record, without any valid justification,” he said.
Dr. Sarma recalled that earlier, when the possibility of GMR bidding for Bhogapuram project was indicated, he had brought to the ministry’s notice the heavy debt liabilities of that company which would not make it prudent for the State to consider that company for the project.
Now, even in the case of the Reliance Group, reports suggest that Reliance also had come under a heavy financial stress due to its debt service obligations and, therefore, it looks as though that the State has once again failed to exercise due diligence in looking out for bidders, he noted.
“Moreover, in matters such as the setting up of large airports, the State cannot and should not be allowed to disassociate the Centre, he pointed out, while seeking immediate action in the matter,” he said.