The ports, shipping and aviation ministry is to expedite the procurement process for establishing electronic gate (e-gate) facilities at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), similar to other modern and developed airports at international destinations.
A discussion on this took place recently at the Ministry with Airport and Aviation (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited officials, and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva instructed them to establish two such e-gates at the Arrivals Terminal and two at the Departures Terminal under Phase I of the project.
"Although the project was initiated in 2017, it had not been implemented due to various reasons, as I noticed. Therefore, I instruct the officials to expedite obtaining necessary approvals in line with the relevant procurement processes and reinstate the project immediately, with less expenditure and more beneficial to the country," the Minister said.
The financial provisions for the project will be allocated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the process will take around one year, the minister disclosed at the discussions.
The Minister emphasized the importance of implementing projects with IOM funding and, until an urgent need is identified, using funds from Airport and Aviation (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited in accordance with accepted tender procedures.
Minister Silva advocated for IOM assistance for port modernization projects as well as the formation of a joint committee for this purpose.
"Under the guidance of that committee, priority should be extended to obtain a scanning unit that should be made available in due course at the Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port. The technical assistance of the IOM should also be obtained for performing operations and other activities at the port with enhanced productivity, " the Minister emphasized.
He said the requirement for two scanners for security scanning of metal and other materials for the passenger ferry service between KKS and India to be launched in the near future was also emphasized at the discussion, and instructions were extended to obtain with least possible delay, Minister Silva added. (Chaturanga Pradeep Samarawickrama)