Former government of India secretary EAS Sarma alleged that the Andhra Pradesh government was trying to brazenly favour private parties in entrusting the development of Bhogapuram Airport project, at the cost of public sector Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Writing a letter to RN Choubey,secretary, ministry of civil aviation, Sarma said though AAI had offered better terms in response to a tender enquiry, the State government opted in favour of cancelling the tender, making its intention clear, that it would award the project only to a private party.
This, he said, has raised questions of propriety on the part of the state.
Citing media reports that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group had entered the bidding for Bhogapuram Airport project, the former bureaucrat suspected that the state was willing to consider Reliance’s offer.
‘What distressed me most in the media reports is that the State had tried to blame AAI without any justification for the delay in proceeding with the project,” he said in the letter.
He said the union ministry of civil aviation should strongly rebut the allegation against AAI and expose the State’s reluctance to award the project to a PSU with proven track record, without any valid justification. Recalling how he earlier brought to the notice of the centre the case of GMR’s bidding for Bhogapuram and heavy debt liabilities of the company, Sarma said Reliance groups is also under heavy financial stress and accused that the state government had failed to exercise due diligence in looking out for bidders.
Cautioning the centre that states should not be allowed to dissociate from the centre in setting up the larger airports, EAS Sarma also warned the cente that awarding the Bhogapuram project to the companies like GMR and Reliance would accentuate the existing NPA crisis of the banking system that would, in turn, drain the resources of the centre.
(Banner picture from Bhogapuramairport.com)