Airport deal by tomorrow

The government will sign a contract with a British security company by tomorrow for foolproof security screening at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, said Minister Rashed Khan Menon yesterday.

Before this, the cabinet committee on economic affairs and the cabinet committee on purchase will approve a technical project proposal (TPP) today, making way for the deal with the company without any bidding.

An inter-ministerial meeting yesterday approved the TPP with some changes to the proposals prepared following negotiations with two British security service companies, said the minister while briefing journalists after the meeting at the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (Caab) office.

The minister neither mentioned the company that may get the job nor did he disclose the amount to be paid for its service.

Meeting sources said the two companies are Redline Assured Security and Restrata. And Redline is expected to get the contract for airport security screening for two years.

Redline on Friday demanded Tk 75 crore, but yesterday it agreed on Tk 73.98 crore. “The amount might even be smaller as the final negotiation is still going on,” said an official who participated in the meeting.

“We'll sign the deal for two years, but after every six months we will review the company's performance,” the minister said.

He added that the hired company will also train local screeners.

Sources said meetings of the cabinet committee on economic affairs and the cabinet committee on purchase are usually held on Wednesdays with the finance minister in the chair. But to get the project approved, the meetings will be held today.

The project is the only agenda for the meetings.

According to government rules, if any job involving over Tk 10 crore is awarded to any company without bidding, it requires permission from the cabinet committee on economic affairs, sources mentioned. 

On March 8, the British government imposed a ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka citing security concerns until further notice.

Besides, British Prime Minister David Cameron in a letter to her Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina called for a visible improvement of airport security by March 31 to avoid further measures like banning of Biman's direct passenger flights from Dhaka to London.

Against this backdrop, British High Commissioner Alison Blake and other UK delegation members during the March 13 meeting suggested hiring a foreign company for security management at the airport.

The government primarily selected Redline and Restrata from a list of four foreign security companies suggested by the British envoy at the meeting.

The two other companies are G4S and Westminster Security Services.


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