The GMR group, which is being evicted from the Maldives over the cancellation of its airport development contract, is seeking legal remedy to enable them to remain in the archipelago and to protect its investment and employees.
“We are seeking legal remedy and are hopeful of getting legal protection to continue our airport operations at the Maldives,” said GMR group spokesperson Arun Bhagat.
Several senior GMR officials are in the Maldives, trying to find a solution to the imbroglio.
The Maldives government has issued a notice to GMR, asking it to move out of the airport within seven days and threatened to cancel the visas of GMR employees seven days hence.
Mr. Bhagat, who flew down to the Maldives after trouble broke out and returned on Thursday, said although the airport was operating normally, the situation was very intimidating.
“We have not defaulted on anything. The deed signed with the government was to modernise the airport and develop a new one. We are doing both. How can they cancel the contract without a rational reason? Their stance is not tenable and they are illegally asking us to clear out. We have completed two years of the 25-year contract. Twenty-three years are still left,” Mr. Bhagat said.
The GMR-led consortium has so far invested $230 million in the project, out of which $160 million has been funded by Axis Bank. The company has 80 expatriates working at the airport and they may have to be evacuated in case the matter continues to remain unresolved in seven days.
Even as the international community watches silently, questions have been raised about the safety of foreign investment in the Maldives. The shares of Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. on Thursday hit a 52-week low of Rs. 16.75 a share before closing at Rs. 17.85, down by 0.83 per cent on a day when the BSE Sensex surged 329 points (1.75 per cent).