Mumbai:The Maharashtra government is all set to give Nagpur airport to the private hands as it has finally cleared decks for the bid invitation. The announcement to this effect was made by the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who was in Nagpur to inaugurate two cold storage units at the airport.
He informed that the government is in talks with corporate companies to the likes of Boeing, Tatas and Reliance to seek investiment in aviation sector.
Nagpur airport is currently being operated by Mihan India Limited (MIL). Once the cabinet approves the proposal, MIL will invite requests for proposals (RFPs) from the selected private players who have been qualified by the state government. The companies likely to participate in the bid include Essel infrastructure, IRB, GVK, GMR, Tata Realty and PNC Infrastructure. A security clearance has been issued for the all the companies except IRB as it backed out of the deal subsequently.
Sources in MIL said that the next step will be finalizing of the RFP and concession agreement to be signed with the private bidder. Even as no deadline as been set, the bids are expected to be floated by December this year.
However, one more step needs to be cleared before MIL can go-ahead with the privatization. MIL is a joint venture of state government’s Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) and centre’s Airport Authority of India (AAI). Both the partners have contributed equity in the form of land and infrastructure in the JV. Now, both AAI and MADC are supposed to sign a lease deed for the assets with MIL.
MIL was formed in 2009 but the formality could not be completed yet. MIL will have to formally have the airport assets in its hand through the lease deed before it goes ahead with privatization. Sources say the process would be completed as AAI’s survey of land expected to be finished soon.
Earlier addressing the function, Fadnavis said the cold storage, among other facilities like new runway and cargo terminal, needed to ultimately bring up a logistics hub at the Nagpur airport. US Enterprises which has set up the cold storage is headed by Ulhas Mohile. The facility, run by city company M/s US Enterprises with a 10 metric ton capacity, is expected to boost export of perishable items from the region.