It was no secret that these two premier public corporations do not have the best of track records insofar as transparency, honesty and straight dealings are concerned. But what the findings of an ACC inquiry into the workings of Biman and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) have revealed, as reported in this paper on Monday, defy one's imagination as well as cause us deep anxiety. While the level of corruption and its pervasiveness are astounding, what is equally worrisome is the fact that these two organisations are directly concerned with the safety of people's lives. Corruption and shady deals, poor level of maintenance or obsolescent aircrafts can cost lives. And these two organisations are the windows of the foreigners to our country. No wonder Biman is losing to other airlines which were at best mediocre not in the very distant past. And no wonder that foreign airlines shun our airports.
It is not the first time that we have been presented with damning enquiry reports on these two “siblings” and appropriate recommendations too, but no palpable action has been taken to save these two from the plague. In fact, things have gotten worse. The quantum decline of the national flag carrier speaks of that.
Time has come to take stringent measures against the powerful coteries inside Biman and CAAB who continue to get away with their misdeeds. Top brasses in these two organisations must answer for the level of malpractice in their respective organisation because the buck stops with them. While ignorance about the matter makes one guilty of incompetence, not taking action against dishonest people makes one complicit in the crime. The recommendations of the ACC as well as of the previous committees should be implemented quickly including streamlining the procurement procedures, forming a standing committee of experts for procurement and strong independent oversight bodies to constantly scrutinise these two organisations.