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9 August, 2018 11:59:39 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 10 August, 2018 09:15:13 AM

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Sena Kalyan proposes 1-stop service centre at passport HQ

Move aimed at curbing extortion of applicants by broker syndicate
DEEPAK ACHARJEE
Sena Kalyan proposes 1-stop service centre at passport HQ

For the first time in the country, a non-governmental organisation—Sena Kalyan Sangstha (SKS)—is going to set up a one-stop service centre at a government service organisation—the Department of Immigration and Passport (DIP)—to help applicants fill up forms for machine-readable passports (MRPs) without any hassle. As per the request from the DIP, the Bangladesh Army-owned welfare trust—SKS—has proposed setting up 18 booths inside the DIP headquarters in Dhaka, sources in DIP and the security service division of the home ministry said.

The DIP has forwarded the proposal to the security service division of the home ministry, seeking its approval, the sources added.

In its proposal, SKS mentioned that a passport applicant has to pay Tk. 200 at the booth counter, where six bank booths will also be set up to receive money for filling up forms.

SKS authorities will appoint 28 employees including an officer, one supervisor, one accountant, and 20 computer data operators, to operate the service centre. “SKS and the commercial banks concerned will construct the required infrastructure, including the booths, using their own funds,” the proposal added.

According to the proposal, “After Tk. 200 is paid at the bank booth, the counter staff will generate a serial slip and the applicant will then proceed to the mentioned booth, with the required documents, for filling up the passport form. After filling up the passport form, the booth staff will give a token for passport enrolment. After completing the enrolment, an enrollment slip would be given to the applicant, with the date for collecting the new passport.”

The proposal mentioned that SKS will take Tk. 100 as its fee and rest will go to DIP.

Talking to The Independent, a senior official of the security service division of the home ministry said that the proposal has been forwarded to the finance division, seeking its permission after scrutiny.

When contacted, Md. Abdullah Al Mamun, the director of Divisional Passport and Visa Office of the DIP told this correspondent that the SKS will set up the one-stop service centre only at the DIP headquarters, and not in divisional or district offices of the DIP.

“We hope that this will help in the proper filling up of passport forms by the applicants without any hassle,” he said.

Sources said that at least 1,500 applicants could be benefited by this service every day.

Currently, a number of applicants come to the passport office, but most of them face trouble as their forms are not filled up properly.

This has led to the formation of a syndicate of brokers in the DIP with the support of DIP officials, and they allegedly charge an applicant Tk. 12,000 for issuing a MRP on an emergency basis, and Tk. 7,500 for a normal passport.

The official charge for a normal passport is Tk. 3,450, whereas Tk. 5,500 is charged for those issued on an urgent basis.

It was alleged that people from rural areas are the worst sufferers. If they refuse to fork out the extra money, they are

harassed in various ways by the broker syndicate members. A senior official of the passport department said that at least 2 crore MRPs have been issued till date. MRPs were introduced in the country on April 1, 2010, to speed up immigration clearance and improve security for travellers.

SHK

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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