French firm bags contract to supply smart passports to Nepal

Nepal government has decided to seal a lucrative smart passport deal with a French firm, months after the contract to an Indian state-owned company was scrapped following an opposition hue and cry.

Kathmandu: Nepal government has decided to
seal a lucrative smart passport deal with a French firm,
months after the contract to an Indian state-owned company was
scrapped following an opposition hue and cry.

The contract of printing and supply of Machine
Readable Passports is to be awarded to French company Oberthur
Technologies, which quoted the lowest price of USD 3.59 per
unit, Foreign Ministry sources said.
Earlier, the government had cancelled the contract
signed with India`s Security Minting and Printing Corporation
Ltd after the UCPN-Maoist opposed the move, citing flaws in
the procedure of awarding the contract and security issues.

The Indian security press had agreed to supply the
passports at a cost of USD 4 along with technical supports,
software and training.

Following the cancellation of the deal with the Indian
firm in April, four companies submitted the tender for
supplying MRPs.

Besides the French firm, the other three companies
which participated in the tender were US-based 3M
Technologies, Indonesia-based Perum Puri and UK-based De La
Rue.

Two Indian companies and a Chinese company had also
bought forms for the tender but did not bid as they lacked
certain pre-qualification criteria.

The deal carried a qualifying provision that only such
a company can participate in the tender that has already
supplied passports to at least two countries.
The Indian and the Chinese companies have supplied to
their own countries only.

Nepal failed to meet the April deadline set by the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for issuing
Machine Readable Passports, which was extended on the request
made by the government.

PTI

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