Saturday, December 17, 2011

Minister’s Brother Begins Controversial Airport Construction

Long suspended project to revive to assure work for the controversial IPCO, owned by minister Faruk Khan’s brother Aziz Khan.


A syndicate is out again with its long suspended project of constructing hotels and a golf course in front of the Shahjalal International Airport soon after Faruk Khan took charge of the civil aviation ministry.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh has started moving the file of its controversial agreement with Singaporean company IPCO in which over 58 hectares of Caab land was leased out for 60 years in 1999.

The construction work of the project&mdashtwo multi-star hotels, a shopping mall, a country club and a large golf course&mdashhas even resumed this week without informing Caab, an official told daily sun, preferring not be named.

The project had remained totally suspended for the last three years&mdashwhen GM Quader was the civil aviation minister&mdashbecause the IPCO had violated conditions of the agreement which resulted in Caab's decline to allow the lease.

Talking to daily sun, workers said they have been asked to resume the construction in full swing soon.

When contacted, engineer Mosharraf Hossain, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on civil aviation ministry, refused to make any comment on the issue.

"I am not interested in talking about the issue," he said. Another high official of Caab said, "We will allow leasing to the IPCO as much land as is needed for building two hotels and a shopping mall. Caab requires the rest of the land for further development of the airport."

The value of the leased land was about Tk 70 billion in 1999, but it now stands at about Tk 450 billion, he said, requesting anonymity.

Sources in the civil aviation ministry said the previous minister, GM Quader, decided to cancel the lease of 52.6 hectares (130 acres) of land as per Caab's requirement.

The IPCO, which was allowed to use the rest, wrote a letter to Caab, saying it wants all of the 58 hectares (144.73 acres) of land that was agreed upon.

The agreement was signed allegedly to benefit engineer Mosharraf Hossain personally when he was in charge of the civil aviation ministry in 1999.

But soon later, the Summit Group and the United Group of Bangladesh said they bought the ownership of the IPCO, thus becoming the owner of the agreement, which violates rules.

The major share holder of the project is Summit Group owned by Aziz Khan, elder brother of the current civil aviation minister, Faruk Khan.

According to the agreement, the IPCO was supposed to complete a three-star hotel, a five-star hotel, a country club and a golf course by 2005, but the project could progress very little in the last 12 years.