In strong message to road firms, NHAI may bar GMR from bids
Although a final decision is likely only at the NHAI board meeting expected in a few days, sources in the know told FE that preventing the company from bidding for new projects for a few years is under consideration, as the stay obtained by GMR Infrastructure from the Delhi High Court on forfeiture of R270 crore performance guarantee left the authority with few other options of punitive action.
Road minister CP Joshi is understood to have asked the authority to consider possible punitive options, including debarring. The procedure starts with the issuance of a showcause notice to the party, in this case GMR. The prohibition will come only if the authority is not satisfied with the company’s reply to the notice.
GMR had informed the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday that it terminated a 16-month-old concession agreement with NHAI under which it had promised to pay the authority over R9,000 crore on a net present value basis. The GMR walkout, followed by a threat by the GVK Group to leave the 330-km-long Shivpuri-Dewas highway in Madhya Pradesh on similar grounds, sparked a debate among policymakers over the trigger for such action by the country’s largest infrastructure companies.