GMR may hand Maldives fat bill for Male contract termination

After losing the Male international airport to the Maldives government, GMR is now putting its act together to get a decent compensation for the project.

Though there is no clarity on the amount that has to be paid to the private firm against the termination of the contract prior to the concession period, the company officials said "it (compensation) would be another tricky issue to work out with the Maldives government."

The parties are going to take up the compensation issue in the Singapore Court. "We will pay compensation to GMR as per the direction of the Singapore Court. We do not know about the exact amount to be paid. There are many figures such as $700 million, $350 million and also $220 million. But,to give a concrete number at this point of time, is difficult," Masood Imad, press secretary of the Maldives President, said.

Maldives took over the operations of the Male international airport after the Singapore Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled in favour of the government, allowing it to go ahead with the move. Andrew Harrison, chief executive officer of GMR Male Airport, had earlier said the company would take legal action to stay invested in the country. India has also asked Maldives to control any quarters that may be trying to harm bilateral relations, saying the issue should not put a "question mark" on the ties between the two sides.

"If they have to take a decision in interest of their society and country and if that decision is taken properly as per laws there, what objections can anyone have there. We would want that whatever is the decision, it should not put any question marks on our friendly relations," external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said.

The termination GMR's contract has also raised suspicion on the involvement of another country in the development. Even the company has not ruled out any such possibility.

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