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Sunday, December 7, 2014, Agrahayan 23, 1421, Safar 13, 1436 Hijr

Passport offices in the clutch of brokers
Jannatul Ferdousy
Published : Sunday, 7 December, 2014,  Time : 1:02 AM,  View Count : 26
To ease the process of getting passport, the government decentralised passport offices regionally. However, herd of middlemen around the passport offices are assumed to have a mighty authority over the passport procedure; even officials are involved with them, sources said.
Local people said that agents around passport offices took grip of the whole procedure and people who are going through the genuine way by themselves are eventually suffering.
Instances of sufferings are like: Salman Farsi, a one month baby and patient of anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC) needs an open heart surgery. As this treatment is not possible in Bangladesh, doctor suggested his mother Mithila go to Delhi. So she ran to the local passport office. She found lots of floating brokers (locally called Dalal) surrounding the office. But she did not seek for any agent. She applied for an 'express passport' (urgent passport) to Jatrabari, Dhaka regional passport office, and stood for eight hours on queue for submitting the application and snapping photographs.
Ironically, a person who takes agents' help can submit the application directly disregarding all lengthy procedures. Since the mother of the child avoided agents, she had to go through the red tape and got her 'express passport' (Official charge: Tk 6000) after one month whereas she was supposed to get it within a week.
On the other hand, Kahirul Alam, another example, went through an agent for an 'ordinary passport' (Official charge: Tk 3000). He did not have to face any lengthy formalities and got the passport within five days whereas 'ordinary passports' are not delivered officially before 21 days at least.
For submitting one application a broker demands Tk 1,500 to Tk 2,500. Though, people are paying more money for 'express passport', it is not delivered on time if agents are not involved. In this case, involvement of officials is alleged by many people.
However, Assistant Director of the Jatrabari passport office denied this charge directly.
The Daily Observer regional correspondents informed that all regional passport offices in the country are in the clutch of brokers and the officials are collaborating with them.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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