Times of India
The Navi Mumbai international airport may miss its 2019 deadline with three of the qualified bidders raising questions about the timeline and cost overurns involved in executing the Rs 16,000-crore project.
Sources from one of the construction firms involved in the bidding said it would take at least six years from “start to finish” to complete the new airport given the current status at the site (see graphic). However, Cidco still claims that one runway will be operational by 2019 and the entire airport ready the following year.
Tata Realty & Infrastructure, Hiranandani Group and GMR Infrastructure have said that they do not plan to put in financial bids on January 9 and will seek time to decide till issues linked to resettlement and pre-development work are resolved.GVK Power & Infrastructure-led Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) is the fourth bidder and the only one that has not expressed reluctance to meet the 42-month deadline which government intends to set.
A Tata Realty official said the deadline set by City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), a planning agency of the state government, was “ridiculous”.”The corporation want us to complete the work within three-and-a-half years when the ground leveling work itself will take over two years,” he said.
Some of the bidders also cited a potential conflict of interest saying ground leveling work has been awarded to the subsidiary of one of the four bidders. “If the ground leveling work is deliberately delayed or not done properly , the winning bidder will face penalties or even face termination of contract.This is unfair,” they said.
Darshan Hiranandani, whose construction firm has qualified along with Zurich Airport to bid for the project, said, “We strongly suggest Cidco think out of the box the way our country is currently doing.” He said the corporation has still not received the final environmental clearance and hence all are “skeptical what riders it will come with”.
“Land development work contracted or awarded has still not begun to convert into action. “Two tenders for land development have been scrapped, thereby creating worries on the timeline,” he added. Bidders are concer ned about the consequent impact on the cost of the project and whether the estimates provided by government are sufficient.
GMR has said more than 3,200 families need to be relocated from the site before work starts. “Agencies appointed for two land development work packages have not been able to start the survey due to protests from local villagers. Any further delay in rehabilitating these families will have a compounding effect on project completion schedules,” it said. Cidco MD Bhushan Gag rani, however, said all the issues which are being raised by bidders have been discussed multiple times with them over the past four years.”These are all old issues and they are aware of them. We have granted them enough extensions to submit their bids,” he told TOI.
Gagrani admitted that the timeline for completion is tight. “Cidco will remove project-affected persons from the site, so they should not worry about it. The pending environmental clearances too have nothing to do with their work,” he added. Gagrani said the entire project would be completed by 2020. “Cidco will invest up to Rs 2,000 crore for site development,” he said.