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Maharashtra defers opening of bids for Navi Mumbai airport

The Maharashtra government has deferred opening of initial bids for the development of Navi Mumbai airport by two weeks, a move that is likely to delay its commissioning further.

The bids received following the issuance of RFQ (Request for Qualification) were to be opened on Monday, which have now been put off by two weeks, sources said.

After a lot of back and forth, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO), which is the nodal agency for the airport project, had short-listed four entities — GMR, GVK, Hiranandani groups and Tatas.

However, three of them — GMR, Hiranandani groups and Tatas — opted out of the bidding process citing project “risk” and “onerous” bid condition, sources said.

The estimated Rs. 16,000-crore airport project, which would help ease the congestion at the existing international aerodrome in Mumbai, is already running behind the schedule. Confirming the development, a Cidco official said that all the four bidders had requested the agency to allow them more time but it did not accede to their demand. “However, three of the four bidders pulled out of the bidding process, leaving GVK group as the single bidder for the project. So, we have extended the time for the single bidder by another two weeks,” the official said. Some industrial players have raised concerns over risks associated with single-bid scenario.

The proposed airport is to be developed through a public private partnership with City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO) as the nodal agency.

In February this year, CIDCO invited RFQ and the deadline for submissions was extended quite a few times. It was first extended to July 30, then September 2 and October 31. Finally, after another extension, the deadline ended on December 10.

The project requires around 2,268 hectares, of which 1,160 hectares would be utilised for aeronautical purposes.

“The cost of pre-development works is estimated at Rs. 2,358 crore (comprising of part airport site development and shifting of extra high voltage transmission lines),” as per CIDCO website.

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