Mahfuz Emran: Over Tk 4,402 crores are being spent to create e-passport with the latest advanced technology and to introduce automatic border control management for Bangladeshi citizens staying in the country and abroad in line with the outside world. It has also increased by Tk 830 crore. But the whole system is waiting for start operation since last two years.
The Bangladesh Immigration and Passport Directorate undertook the project in July 2018 with full government funding to increase the security and acceptance of the Bangladeshi passport in the outside world and to ensure the smooth passage of Bangladeshi citizens and incoming foreign nationals at immigration checkpoints. At that time, the cost of the ten-year project (up to June 2028) was estimated at around Tk 4,636 crore. Most recently, the project cost has been revised and fixed at Tk 938.36.
According to the sources of security service department of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the project cost is increasing due to 11 reasons. These are import of additional raw materials and booklets for making passports; including rental of specialized archives for storage of e-passport booklets imported from Germany and its raw materials and accessories; Facilitating backend verification, hardware and software purchases; Increase in cost of DSLR cameras; Increased expenditure on training and travel; Introduction of e-gate services at international airports and land ports; 2 car (coaster) rental included; Include promotion and advertising expenses; Increase in CD VAT and taxes and changes in Economic Code in some sectors etc.
According to sources, the project area includes Passport Head Office; 72 regional passport offices; 80 Bangladesh missions; 1 Diplomatic Passport Office; Disaster Recovery Centre, Jessore; 3 international airports, 2 land ports and 22 other automated border control systems in the country; 72 SB/DSB offices and Munich, Germany missions.
According to sources, an allocation of Tk 830 crore has been kept in ADP for the current financial year 2023-2024 for the implementation of the project. The target mentioned in Chapter-1, Section-1.4.6 of the 8th Five Year Plan is to bring all applicants under the e-passport by 2025. If the project is implemented, the acceptance of Bangladeshi passport in the outside world will increase through the issue of e-passport with the latest advanced security technology in line with the outside world.
Significant activities under the project include setting up server storage, data backup system, biometric enrollment system; Purchase of computers and accessories, telecommunication equipment, cameras and accessories, electrical equipment, firefighting equipment, etc.; Purchase of laboratory, office equipment and furniture; Procurement of engineering and other equipment including e-passport personalization machine, e-gate, finger print scanner, Irish-scanner, signature pad, e-passport reader, 2D barcode reader, smart card reader and ancillary equipment; purchase of computer software; Construction of non-residential building and purchase of 25 vehicles etc.
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