The Adani Group has sought an extension of the deadline to take possession of three privatised airports in Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Mangaluru from the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
The group has expressed its inability to take over the three airports due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown in the wake of it.
The conglomerate has also invoked force majeure clause in the public-private partnership (PPP) contract it won after aggressive bidding last year. This has dealt a blow to the Centre's privatisation plans.
Force majeure is a clause in contracts that frees both parties (entering the contract) from any liability arising out of natural and inevitable catastrophes such as war, riots, crime or epidemics etc. that are beyond their control. These events are described in the legal term as 'Act of God'.
The multinational conglomerate signed a binding concession agreement with AAI on February 14 to develop, operate, and maintain the three airports after winning the bid for six airports in 2018. The entire asset transfer fee for the six airports is worth Rs 2,000, comprising upfront payments to contractors, sources told the news daily.
Apart from this, the GVK group has also cited force majeure clause to City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) Mumbai stating that it will be compelled to delay the start of construction work on the Rs 16,000 crore Navi Mumbai airport project.
"We haven't decided what to reply to GVK but this clause can't rally be invoked. We resumed work on the Navi Mumbai airport project a month back and there is no reason why GVK can't," the executive added.