Was the GMR Group wrong in walking out of the 555-km long Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad national highway because the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was not able to get the requisite environment and forest clearances that was its responsibility under the contract? Or was the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) wrong in insisting that no environment clearances would be given before forest clearances were obtained and, in any case, not being able to deliver on the forest clearances for very long periods of time? The latter appears to be the case, at least according to NHAI, based on the case it has filed in the Supreme Court against MoEF. But if the MoEF is to be blamed, why is NHAI now threatening to blacklist GMR from participating in future highway tenders? A final decision, it is true, is to be taken after a few days, but thatís what officials are talking about.
One of the reasons cited, albeit unofficially, is that GMR didnít give NHAI the mandatory 90-day notice in which NHAI could have got the necessary permissions. There is already a delay of 16 months, and the fact that the NHAI-MoEF fight is now in the Supreme Court suggests the delay could extend many more months and even years. Yet, NHAI is trying to take cover under a 90-day notice rule. It is equally important to point out that if NHAI blacklists GMR, it may have to do the same with the GVK Group, which walked out of a 330-km