Wednesday, 6 July, 2022

CAAB to buy 3 new scanners for HSIA

EDS machine still out of order, veggie exporters facing loss

CAAB to buy 3 new scanners for HSIA

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has finally decided to buy three new scanners for Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) on an emergency basis as the lone functioning Explosive Detective System (EDS) machine at the airport has remained out of order for the last four and an half weeks.

CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshall M Mafidur Rahman confirmed the matter but did not share the details.

The decision has been made at a time when Bangladesh’s vegetable export to European countries is facing an almost stalemate situation and the country is at risk of losing its foreign vegetable markets. The United Kingdom has allowed export using two old scanners, but only two shipments have been sent.

To avoid the hassle of tenders considering the urgency, an initiative has been taken to purchase the scanners directly.

According to section 68 (1) of the PPA 2006 Act, the government may purchase items directly to deal with a state of emergency or a catastrophic event.

Apart from that, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the purchase of three sets of EDS directly.

Of these three scanners, two will be used in the cargo complex at HSIA while the third one will be set up to scan the luggage of passengers of the yet to resume New York-bound flights, a source at the CAAB said the Daily Sun.

The CAAB will buy three sets of the latest technology scanners 'MV 3D' made by Leeds SDA-USA, a US-based security equipment company. The process of buying the scanners at a cost of Tk 414.6 million has started, added the source.

The HSIA is the main gateway to the country. The airport also operates regular direct cargo and passenger flights to different countries including Bangladesh’s major vegetable export destination, the UK.

Apart from that, the process of launching direct flights from Dhaka to New York has already started. Setting up an EDS machine is essential for operating flights to this new destination.

The EDS machine has been installed at the export cargo village of HSIA on December 10 in 2017. As it is an old technology, its maintenance cost is high. And even if it is repaired again, it doesn’t last long.

Therefore, the CAAB has decided to buy new scanners besides repairing the old ‘Morpho 9800 DSi’ scanner.

Dhaka airport previously had two such scanners but one of them is permanently out of order while the other one is prone to malfunction.

This is not the first time that they are faced such a predicament. Exports hit a snag on several occasions over the past few years when the scanner broke down as each time the machine goes out of order, it takes more than 15-30 days to repair.

The whole situation has made the country’s Europe-dependent vegetable exporters frustrated. They fear that they will lose ground in the European vegetable market and don’t know how they will recover the loss they are incurring.

They, however, appreciated the steps taken by the CAAB to purchase three new scanners.

General Secretary of Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters’ Association Mansur Ahmed said, “Thirty one days have been elapsed since the lone EDS machine broke down. The authorities have said that they will require at least 7 more days to repair these machines. We have strengthened our position in the European market after long years of effort but such a crisis is diminishing our impression.” “If the CAAB purchases three new scanners and sets up those at HSIA, it will bring a solution to our problem,” he added.   

The Central Procurement, Engineering and Store Unit (SEMSU) of CAAB buys and supplies various equipment including security at all the airports of the country. And if any equipment breaks down, it needs to be repaired or replaced through SEMSU.