Monday, June 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

The bureaucratic sinkhole that is the passport office

Stop the practice of making service seekers stand in long queues

Update : 25 Mar 2023, 11:31 AM

Being issued a passport is a fundamental right of every Bangladeshi citizen. Yet, acquiring this incredibly important document often becomes a maddening prospect due to the sheer corruption and needless bureaucracy associated with the passport office.

From online applications that lead nowhere to long queues at the physical office, getting a passport is nowhere as easy or smooth a process as it should be -- and most of us are well acquainted with the sheer frustration involved with the process.

Which is why the recent letter sent to the director of the Dhaka Divisional Passport and Visa Office by a Supreme Court lawyer is a prospect worth being hopeful for, as the letter asks the passport authorities to stop corruption, nepotism, and innumerable irregularities which all add to the many frustrations of the people in having their passports issued.

The letter did no stop there either, as it also calls for improvements to be made into queue management, demanding the passport office to stop the practice of making service seekers stand in long queues for hours and to introduce a modern token system that would display serial numbers on a digital board -- certainly not an unprecedented notion given the ubiquity of such systems in banks.

It should not take the Supreme Court to step in and point out the absolutely blatant problems which exist in such an important national institution, yet here we are. But the problems do not stop at infrastructural and bureaucratic failings.

Far too often, citizens find themselves subject to inordinate harassment and difficult situations when seeking simple services from government institutions such as the passport office, even when they have followed the proper procedure.

This is an attitude that is utterly pervasive in some of the lower rungs of our administrative offices, and it is high time that this culture was rooted out in favour of more efficient and people-friendly systems.

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