Monday, June 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Ticket to purgatory

To call this unacceptable would be underplaying the severity of the situation

Update : 20 Jul 2022, 01:44 PM

As it stands, applying for and then acquiring a passport is an arcane process and an example of the kind of needless bureaucracy that we often criticize our government's various administrative bodies for.

From online applications that go nowhere to long queues at the physical office, getting a passport is nowhere as easy or smooth a process as it should be. In fact, Transparency International (Bangladesh), in the past, had reported that three-quarters of all applicants get harassed during the verification process itself, and almost as many are forced to pay a bribe during the police clearance.

The very notion of having to pay exorbitant amounts in bribes for a document that every citizen in the country is legally entitled to is a farce in itself, but the problem becomes even worse when we realize just how bad the process is for elderly citizens, who often have to travel overseas for medical reasons.

As a recent Dhaka Tribune report revealed, the old and infirm are not only required to physically visit the passport office but are even subjected to absurdly long queues and wait times while there, and those with physical disabilities are expected to arrange for basic necessities such as a wheelchair by themselves.

To call this unacceptable would be underplaying the severity of the situation.

When even the old and infirm are not spared from the purgatorial process of applying for a passport, sweeping reform into not only the process but the entirety of the administration responsible for it is in order.

Far too often, Bangladeshis find themselves subject to harassment and difficult situations when seeking simple services from government offices, even when they have followed the proper procedure, and the passport office rests lazily at the absolute top.

The government must make sure that problem elements within our administrative services are reported and promptly rooted out of their posts. That is the only way to make processes such as passport applications run smoothly. 

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