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Hint of rebid in airport revamp

New Delhi, Jan. 15: The Sreedharan Committee on airport revamp will ask the government to go for a quick re-bid, this time with simpler parameters, among all the eight pre-qualified bidders.

Sources said the members may also be allowed to rework their partnerships.

The committee feels the best airport developers did not come forward for the bidding process and re-grouping could help.

Singapore Airport, which is considered one of the leading players globally, had pulled out because it found the bid norms too complex.

The Group of Ministers on airports is expected to meet on January 24 to discuss the issue.

The Sreedharan Committee had earlier said the controversial bidding process for privatisation and modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports be scrapped. Instead, state-run Airports Authority of India could be asked to partner international airport authorities to upgrade the two airports using funds from a special purpose vehicle.

However, the civil aviation ministry had objected to this route as it feared legal trouble from unsuccessful bidders.

The Sreedharan committee was set up after an earlier government review committee said the criteria for selection fixed by consultants was subjective and there could be variations in the findings.

The government review committee said the inter-se marking across various bidders for the same criterion based on experience, expertise and commitments could be different.

The committee also pointed out that no independent search had been undertaken to check whether the documents provided by the various bidders were authentic. It felt that the cost-plus tariff structure for the successful airport bidder should be replaced by user charges set beforehand as this could make the airports more affordable.

The consultants had selected Reliance-Mexico and GMR- Fraport for the revamp project. However, serious objections regarding the bid criteria as well as accusations by the Left that the consultants had links with these groups, forced the government to do a rethink.

The Group of Ministers which was supposed to take a final view on the bids consequently set up the Sreedharan Committee.

This expert panel, headed by Delhi Metro chief E. Sreedharan, had ruled out the award of the contract to the Reliance-Mexico consortia after re-evaluating the bid and awarding it lower marks on certain counts.

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