Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Sep 15, 2005
Logistics - Modernisation
High drama as bidders submit papers
New Delhi , Sept. 14
THE second floor of Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, where the Ministry of Civil Aviation is headquartered, late this evening witnessed some high-tension drama. The action was at the office of the Executive Director (Key Infrastructure Development), Mr V.K. Kalra, where the keen bidders pitching for restructuring of Delhi and Mumbai airports were to put in their proposals.
As the 5 p.m. deadline approached, rumours started flying thick and fast. "The bid of one bidder has been rejected as they had not given an original bank guarantee document. The photocopy that they have got has not been accepted," was the rumour in the corridors of powers.
Even before this could be sorted out, another bidder started to dial some numbers on his mobile phone but stopped midway and screamed at some hapless workers as they carried huge cardboard boxes filled with bid documents "Hurry up, why are you delaying the entire process. Run up!"
No sooner were the cardboard boxes ushered into Mr Kalra's room that a rival bidder screamed, "This is unfair, how can the bid document be accepted even after the 5 p.m. deadline has passed. If they are accepted, we will protest. Every one must learn to respect the time lines set by Kalra sir."
All this, because the deadline had been missed by some prospective bidders by all of five minutes.
Watching on were the workers of Airports Authority of India (AAI) many of whom could not contain their laughter.
"See how eager they are to take over the two main airports of India. Now, we know that they are the real crown jewels for no one from the private sector will take up a project unless they can make it a really profitable venture."
The rumours ceased only when the chairs on the second floor were used to ferry the huge number of cardboard boxes that contained the bid document from one room to another on the same floor.
The decision of some of the bidders to put their bid document in a Polo suitcase that had wheels came as a blessing in disguise for the people given the task of transporting the weighty documents from one room to another.
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