Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure won a contract to build a new airport at Hirasar, in Gujarat’s Rajkot district, PTI reported on Thursday. The company in a statement said it will have to be completed within 30 months of receiving the Letter of Award, which they have received.
The contract is worth Rs 648 crore, while the airport is to be built at a cost of over Rs 1,400 crore, The Hindu Businessline reported. The report added that Reliance Infra was the lowest bidder for the contract, and cited unidentified officials as saying that the company had bid Rs 650 crore against the Airports Authority of India’s estimated cost of around Rs 797 crore. The report also said that the airport was planned as as a single-runway airport with the aim of supporting the development of trade and tourism, and improving regional connectivity in the state.
The airport will be constructed near the National Highway 8B, around 36 km from the existing Rajkot Airport, The Hindu reported. Reliance added that the airport will eventually meet the spillover needs of Ahmedabad, according to The Hindu.
In the past few months, Opposition parties have said that the Rafale defence offsets contract had unfairly favoured Anil Ambani’s company. On Thursday, the Congress had asked for an FIR to be filed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the case. Rafale manufacturer Dassault has said it was not influenced to pick Reliance. The 36-Rafale jet contract had earlier been expected to be awarded to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The Supreme Court is currently hearing petitions calling for a review of its verdict which had said an investigation into the deal is not necessary.
On February 28, Kerala Chief Minister Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Modi, asking him not to hand over the Thiruvananthapuram airport contract to businessman Gautam Adani. Last month, the Adani Group won a bid to operate five airports, in Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Jaipur.
“It’s surprising how come a private company has bagged the right to run the airport even when this particular company has no experience in running airports,” the chief minister had said. Vijayan pointed out that the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation had already moved the High Court challenging the tender process through which Adani was chosen as the winning bidder.