Delay in issuing e-passport would invite unnecessary trouble
Due to the delay in introducing electronic passports, the government is going to purchase another 20 lakh Machine Readable Passport (MRP) books to meet the immediate requirement. The cabinet committee on purchase on Thursday approved the Tk 43.4 crore project in this regard. The government has failed to introduce e-passports with 10 years validity from July 1 this year though it planned for it. The launch was delayed twice. In September, the cabinet committee approved a purchase of 20 lakh MRP books. It's assumed that another two to three months would be needed to introduce e-passports on trial basis. But supply of MRP books is inadequate in comparison to the huge demand for passports. Especially embassies are complaining on a regular basis that they are not getting the passports on time. In June, the ECNEC approved a project to introduce e-passports, and in July the government signed an agreement with German firm Veridos GmbH in this regard.
E-passport is a digitalized and modern concept. Immigration authority of any country can easily find all the information about the traveller. Most countries in the world have now started using e-Passports. The biggest advantage of e-Passport is that travellers can travel very quickly and easily through using e-gate. As a result, there will not be any line to check their visa at different airports. Our government took the initiative to introduce e-passport in the wake of issuing more than one passport against one person in the absence of citizens' database facilities. In fact, forged passports are frequently issued by a section of officials of Passport Department in exchange for bribes. Hundreds of fake passports have also been provided to the Rohingyas also.
We must say the delayed procurement of e-Passports would hamper the state security in future. The delay is unwanted and is a sheer wastage of public money. The government should replace the MRP quickly by e-Passports.