The government is set to introduce e-passports replacing the Machine Readable Passports introduced in Bangladesh in 2010 to enhance its security features further and increase acceptability across the globe.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the e-passport and automated border control management at a function in the city on Wednesday, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told a press conference at the ministry on Sunday.
He said the authorities concerned have completed all preparations to introduce the e-passport, which would initially be delivered from the Department of Immigration and Passports’ regional offices at Agargaon, Jatrabari and Uttara in the city.
The minister said that German company Veridos GmbH was implementing the Tk 4690crore e-passport and automated border control management project under the DIP with the support of Bangladesh Army.
He said the biometric information would remain sealed as it would require prints of all 10 fingers, eyeris and National Identity Card or birth certificate in case of those below 18 for getting the e-passport having validity of five years and 10 years in two categories under the project to be completed in 10 years.
MRPs would be issued side by side as it would take around a year to expand the facility to other passport offices across the country, he said.
President M Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina would get e-passports first, he said, adding the new service would be expanded in phases to all regional passport offices in the country and Bangladesh missions abroad.
The authorities would have the capacity to issue 25,000 passports every day, he said.
One would have to pay Tk 3,500 for a 48-page passport having validity of five years to be delivered in 15 days in general category, Tk 5,500 on emergency in seven days and Tk 7,500 in two days while it would cost Tk 5000 with validity of 10 years general category and on emergency Tk 7000 and Tk 9000 in case of delivery in two days.
For a 64-page passport having validity of five years and to be delivered in 15 days, one would need to pay Tk 5,500, Tk 7,500 on emergency in seven days and Tk 10,500 in two days while the same passport having validity of 10 years would cost Tk7000 in general category and on emergency Tk 9000 and Tk 12000 in case of delivery in two days.
Asked about applications left pending for issuance of MRPs, DIP director general Major General Shakil Ahmed without giving specific number said that 80 per cent of those shown as pending for delivery were in process and could be delivered in the given date.
He, however, said they might face some problems during the transition period.
It has been reported in media recently that the DIP could not deliver MRP passports in the given time even after paying for emergency services as around five lakh applications were left pending allegedly due to lengthy process of police verifications, bio-metric verifications and shortage of books.
Asked whether the service delivery would improve if the e-passport was introduced, the minister replied in the positive, saying the police verification system would be simplified as none would be eligible to get the passport without verification of their NIDs or birth certificates.
The authority issued 1,24,48897 MRPs before the November 24, 2015 deadline set by International Civil Aviation Organisation for replacing the hand-written passports, he said.
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