Renting out Airport space: Are new conditions tailored to suit non-local bidders?
Srinagar, Jan 18: Director Srinagar International Airport, Sharad Kumar, on Wednesday said they have asked the shopkeepers violating the norms to wind up.
He said the shopkeepers’ contracts, as well as the extensions granted to them, have expired.
“We had invited fresh tenders, and many have qualified including a few who have been running their shops for a long time,” he said.
Kumar said the tendering process was open for locals as well as non-locals.
The shopkeeper, however, have a counterpoint. One of them, for instance, said his contract was valid till 2019.
“I have two counters in the security lounge selling coffee and snacks. They have intentionally made the norms stricter, just to pave way for the outsiders. The criteria they have set will not be fulfilled even by Lalit or Vivanta,” he said.
Another shopkeeper said the authorities were going to bring in outsiders to set up shops inside the Airport.
“We have been running our shops at the Airport for a long time. Preference should have been given to us. We are totally dependent on the income coming from our shops,” he said.
“One shopkeeper has got the contract for six months. He also has to close down his shop after the expiry of the contract.”
As per him, there are around 15 shops at the Airport selling handicrafts, books, dry fruits, and similar stuff.
A shopkeeper dealing in food items alleged that Airport Authority of India (AAI) was outsourcing the shops to outside companies.
“At Airport, there are two types of shops: food stores and retail shops. Devyana International, a Delhi-based company has been given the tender of food and beverages,” he alleged.
“AAI has set the turnover of Rs 6 crore and franchise of two international brands as the criteria to apply for the tender. In Kashmir, no one fulfils the criteria,” he added.
He said they were served notices about five days ago.
“We may be asked to vacate the sops at any point of time. The bidding for retail shops is going to be held on January 19, and we have a firm belief that they will be given to the outsiders,” he said.
The shopkeepers have asked the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, to intervene and raise the issue with the central government.