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Ready to talk to Maldives govt within agreement framework: GMR

The proj is currently facing protests from political groups

Press Trust of India  |  Maldives 

With its $500 million airport development project here becoming a target of political football, Indian infrastructure major GMR has said it is flexible about discussing with the government all the issues within the framework of the concession agreement.

The project, inked between GMR and former President Mohammed Nasheed's government to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, is facing protests from political groups here who term this agreement as "illegal" alleging that it was signed despite objections from the Parliament.

Even current President Waheed Hassan has termed the agreement a "bad contract" signed "conceivably under dubious conditions" by previous government.

However, Nasheed and GMR both refute these allegations.

The political parties, which formed the government after the ouster of Nasheed in February this year, are demanding scrapping of the present agreement.

Reacting to ongoing protests against its project, a senior official of GMR here said the group was "flexible to sit down and look at any issues within the framework of the concession agreement. Within that we can be flexible."

"We remain flexible within the framework of concession agreement...If they want to scrap the agreement, (in that case) we are finished. We have already invested more than $200 million. Our banks are watching. It is impossible for us to scrap and sit back," the official said.

When asked what are the points which can be discussed under the agreement framework, he said Maldivian government's demand to build an additional airstrip, giving businesses to locals among other things can be discussed.

Meanwhile, India has asked the government to ensure safety and security of its nationals in and "Indian interests" in that country in view of ongoing anti-India demonstrations here. It has also sent a senior official here to convey it to the government.

First Published: Sun, November 18 2012. 12:05 IST