Firms called to supply armoured limos

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Firms called to supply armoured limos

Aug 12, 2014-

Nepal has approached world’s four top carmakers--Toyota, Mercedes Benz, BMW and General Motors--for armoured bulletproof vehicles that will be procured for use by seven heads of state and government during the 18th Saarc Summit in Kathmandu.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has contacted the governments of Japan (Toyota), Germany (BMW and Mercedes Benz) and the United States (Cadillac) through Nepal’s missions in the countries. The Nepali Embassy in the United Kingdom has also been instructed to explore other possibilities of procuring such vehicles.

“We have formed a talks team headed by a joint-secretary at the Foreign Ministry to deal with carmakers for supply of bulletproof vehicles before the Saarc Summit,” said acting Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi.

Besides, the ministry has invited bids to supply 26 other luxury vehicles. According to Foreign Ministry officials on the Saarc Summit Preparation Committee, only the said companies can provide bullet proof vehicles by November, when the regional summit takes place.

It is unclear if the government will hire or buy the vehicles. Opinions are divided whether Nepal should rent these vehicles for the summit or have a fleet of armoured vehicles which could also be used by visiting VVIPs in the future.

According to official estimates, one such vehicle costs up to Rs 50 million after waiving customs duties and excluding transportation charges.

The Cabinet has endorsed “fast-track guidelines” to procure vehicles. The ministry has received more than Rs 1 billion to prepare for the summit, including other logistical arrangements. Besides the cost of road upgradation, vehicle purchase and renovation, several government agencies have a shopping list of over Rs 1 billion.

Immediate agendas include procurement of more vans and micro buses, and renovation and maintenance of City Hall on Pradarshani Marg, Gallery Hall in Singha Durbar and the Basantapur Durbar Square. Nepal has proposed to host the Saarc Summit at City Hall from November 22-27. If the country fails to procure the vehicles in time for the summit, officials said, the government may request Saarc member states to send armoured vehicles along for their top delegates.

For the recently concluded two-day visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India had sent two bulletproof BMWs to Kathmandu.

Published: 13-08-2014 09:22

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