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No headway in making digital passports


Although the government has decided to introduce digital or machine-readable passports for citizens within October of 2006, the uncertainty is now looming large whether it can start the project work at the stipulated period.
Sources said still the preliminary work for the project could not be started due to the dilly-daily and indecision of the concerned officials of the administration.
Even there are sharp differences of opinions as to which organisation should be awarded the contract.
As per the decision by the American government, it will not allow any citizen of Bangladesh after the month of October next year without machine-readable passport.
Sources from the government said the concerned government officials had taken an initiative to open a new department in the name of National Registration Department (NRD) to complete the task in place of the passport directorate.
Earlier, a committee comprising officials of different ministries was also formed to determine the organogram of the NRD.
The committee has been working for long two years but it has failed to make any headway in this regard, sources added.
The competent sources said, soon after the declaration of the American government, the Bangladesh government took the decision to introduce national identity cards and digital passports for its citizens, reports BDNEWS.
To this end the government has decided to make it a must for every citizen to have a national ID card for getting the digital passport.
Accordingly, the government has decided to set up an NRD office at each upazila to implement the project.
Many of the concerned officials are now doubtful about the introduction of ID cards and digital passports at the stipulated period.
According to them if the government wants to complete the project in time then passport directorate at each district should be tasked with the job instead of NRD.
Experts fear if digital passport is not introduced by the year 2006, businessmen cannot enter the USA with a long-time visa resulting in harm to trade and business with America including manpower supply.