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Biman VVIP fiasco brings more red tape

  • Published at 01:53 am February 20th, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:57 am February 20th, 2017
Biman VVIP fiasco brings more red tape
Civil Aviation and Tourism ministry recently formed a task force led by an additional secretary and Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon as the advisor, to monitor all of Biman’s activities. According to the ministry, the team will closely monitor all operations of Biman. Mohammad Shahadat Hussein has been made convenor of five task force. Other members are Dr Mohammad Tajul Islam, joint commissioner, Customs House Dhaka, Civil Aviation Authority Bangladesh’s Director (ATS and Aerodrome) Mohammad Nurul Islam, Biman’s General Manager (CSQ) Muhammad Abdul Wadud, and Deputy Secretary Mohammad Farhad Hussain of Civil Aviation Ministry. The committee has right to add more members if needed. Biman insiders said the initiative could spark conflicts and create tussle between Biman board of directors and the task force. Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon told Dhaka Tribune that the government is the owner of this company. “That’s why it is our duty to monitor its works. As a minister I am accountable to the parliament, media and my superiors in the government. We have a right to monitor Biman’s activities,” he said. Although Menon emphasised that the task force would only monitor day-to-day activities of the airlines, but the responsibility the task force has been given to do the following: Supervise and oversee to ensure matters relating to on- time implementation of Annual job Performance Agreement (APA); Supervise and oversee up-gradation of standard of passenger service and faster execution of luggage and cargo handling; Supervise and oversee implementation of administrative and security related reform; Turn Biman into a profitable company and supervise and oversee activities concerning expansion of fleet and route; Supervise and oversee Biman’s ticket sell and ensure accountability and others. Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon said the task force has been formed as per recommendations of the three enquiry committees that were formed to investigate defects in the Biman aircraft on which the prime minister was flying. The board of directors is the highest policymaking body of the airlines, but the task force has been given enough power to deal with policy-level decisions, an official of Biman told the Dhaka Tribune. In 2007, the government made national carrier a public limited company. Earlier it was a corporation under the ministry and the minister was its chairman. A four-member investigation committee of Biman Bangladesh Airlines led by chief of technical Capt Fazal Mahmud Chowdhury to investigate the incident of the VVIP flight BG 1101 found seven engineers guilty of negligence. Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) and Civil Aviation ministry also formed their investigation committees. Those who were held responsible were all from the engineering department. The incident shook the government and Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon also faced criticism from the ruling Awami League’s leaders and activists. After that blow, the government planned a massive initiative to make the national carrier more accountable. The VVIP flight was carrying 99 passengers including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, four cockpit crew, 20 cabin crew and four aircraft engineers. The aviation minister announced to buy separate chartered aircrafts for VVIP flights, in particular the president and the prime minister. On February 16, the task force began monitoring Biman’s activities. Kazi Wahidul Alam, aviation expert and a former board member of Biman, said: “We want an organisation which will be accountable. “Civil Aviation Ministry can take any new initiative for the betterment of the national carrier. But what’s new in this task force? Those members of the task force are all performing their duties in the Biman board. “It would not be effective as an airlines always needs quick decisions on important matters. The two authorities system would take more time to get an approval,” added Wahidul Alam.