Maldives Takes Control of Male Airport from GMR

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TNI Bureau: Maldives’ state-run Maldives Airport Company Ltd (MACL) last night took over the operations of the Male international airport from GMR.

The Maldives government had earlier scrapped $511-million agreement with GMR on the first of this month, and given time till yesterday night to the Bangalore-based firm to handover the airport operations.

The handover took place a day after the Singapore Supreme Court upheld the right of Maldives to terminate the 25-year contract for its national interest.

In 2010, GMR-led consortium won the right to build and operate the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport for 25 years, which is extendable by another 10 years.

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The deal was signed during the regime of previous government headed by Mohamed Nasheed. However, the new Government headed by President Mohamed Waheed terminated the deal saying that the contract was signed under “dubious” conditions against the national interest.

Meanwhile, the GMR said, “GMR Maldives Internal Airport Ltd (GMIAL) has been assured that as a result of this takeover, all its employees, suppliers and other interested parties will not be put to any inconvenience.”

However, MACL has declared to retain all staff, including Indian nationals, on the same terms that they were getting and that there would be no witch hunt.

Reacting to this new development, Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid has asked Male to keep in check the elements who may be trying to harm bilateral relations. Mr. Khurshid also said that India’s interests in the region are much more wide-ranging than the GMR contract.

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