GMR-Maldives stalemate continues; both sides adamant

There is still no end in sight to the tussle between the Maldives government and India's GMR Infrastructure Ltd, with both sides continuing to make contradictory claims.

Maldives has asked the GMR-led consortium GMR Male International Airport Pvt Ltd (GMIAL) to surrender control of the Male airport and hand over the management to state-run Male Airport Corporation Ltd (MACL) by Saturday midnight for a smooth transition. It said the country woud pay compensation to the company based on the decision of an arbitration case being heard in a Singapore court (See: Singapore HC stays Maldives action against GMR)

But GMR says it has categorically won its case in the Singapore High Court this week, and has made it clear that it has legal backing to continue operation. The company is not interested in a compensation package and is bent on running the airport, it said.

A GMIAL statement says that no settlement was arrived at between the two, and it categorically refuted ''the version of events that is being portrayed'' about its meeting with top Maldives government officials on Tuesday.

The chief executive officer of GMIAL, Andrew Harrison, said in the statement that the acting transport minister, who is also the defence minister, called on him at the Male airport on Tuesday. ''The minister wanted a smooth transition as the airport operations should not be affected, and suffer in any way. Passengers should not be inconvenienced and, therefore, all activities would be allowed to continue as is,'' Harrison said.

The meeting was attended by the acting transport minister, the chairman of the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority, GMR's lawyer in Maldives and three members of MNDF.