Bangladesh entered e-Passport era as the first country in South Asia with the formal opening of the electronic passport services on Wednesday morning.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the e-Passport services and automated border control management at a programme at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.
At the function, she received her e-Passport. Home Minister Asaduzzman Khan handed over the passport to her.
The e-Passport is now initially being issued from three offices – Uttara, Jatrabari and Agargaon –of the Department of Immigration and Passports in Dhaka. These offices have the capacity to issue 25,000 passports a day.
Gradually, e-Passports services will be introduced in 69 passport offices across the country and some 75 Bangladesh missions in phases. The services will be available in other parts of the country within 2020.
The latest move will increase the acceptability of Bangladeshi passports across the world. The electronic passport with high security feature will also ease visit and immigration process globally.
Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia and 119th in the world to introduce e-Passports.
The e-Passport and automated border control management project is being implemented by the DIP and German company Veridos GmbH with assistance from the Bangladesh Army under the Security Services Division of the Home Ministry.
The validity of e-Passport will be five years and 10 years.
The fee for a 48-page and five-year validity passport is Tk 3,500 for normal application, Tk 5,500 for urgent and Tk 7,500 for very urgent application. The fee for 10-year validity passport is Tk 5,000 for normal, Tk 7,000 for urgent and Tk 9,000 for very urgent application.
Besides, the fee for 68-page and five-year validity passport is Tk 5,500 for normal application, Tk 7,500 for urgent and Tk 10,500 for very urgent. But for a passport with 10-year validity, the fee is Tk 7,000 for normal, Tk 9,000 for urgent and Tk 12,000 for very urgent application.
Besides, separate fees have been fixed for general applicants, workers and students living abroad.
Meanwhile, an applicant abroad will have to pay US$100 and US$150 for 48-page passport with five-year validity under normal category and urgent category respectively. In case of 10-year validity, the fees would be $125 and $175.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), over 490 million e-Passports are in circulation.
The e-Passports add a layer of security to traditional non-electronic passports by embedding an electronic chip in the passport booklet that stores the biographical information visible on page 2 of the passport, as well as a digital security feature.
The project ‘Introduction of Bangladesh e-Passport and Automated Border Control Management’ is being implemented at a cost of Tk 4,569 crore.
A total of 30 million e-Passports will be delivered in 10 years under the project.
With the issuance of the e-Passport the whole process of the immigration formalities will be completed through online.
The DIP and Germany Veridos signed an agreement on July 19, 2018 for issuance of electronic passports alongside machine-readable ones.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Security Services Division Secretary Md. Shahiduzzaman and German Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz also spoke at the opening ceremony of e-Passport.
DIP Director General Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed delivered the welcome speech, while e-Passport Project Director Brig Gen Saidur Rahman Khan made a presentation over the e-Passport services.
The authorities of Islamic University (IU) formed a three-member committee to look into the clash between two groups of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) on the campus in Kushtia.
A press release, signed by IU acting Registrar SM Abdul Latif, was issued in this regard on Wednesday.
Headed by IU accounting and information systems department Prof Selina Nashrin, the other members of the committee are information and communication technology department Prof Tapon Kumar Godder and law department Prof Reba Mondol.
Acting Registrar Latif told UNB that Vice-Chancellor Prof M Harun-Ur-Rashid Askari formed the probe body and asked it to submit its report within seven working days.
The VC told UNB that they will take legal action against the accused after receiving the probe report.
At least 20 people, including IU BCL unit General Secretary Rakibul Islam Rakib, were injured as two factions of BCL clashed on the IU campus on Tuesday.
Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka ranked fourth worst in the Air Quality Index (AQI) on Wednesday morning.
It had an AQI score of 241 at 10:17am. The air was classified as ‘very unhealthy’.
Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar, Afghanistan’s Kabul and Nepal’s Kathmandu occupied the top three positions in the list of cities with worst air quality. They had AQI scores of 382, 279 and 265 respectively.
Everyone may experience more serious health effects when the AQI score is between 201 and 300. When the value is more than 300, the air quality is considered hazardous and the entire population is more likely to be affected.
The AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, informs people how clean or polluted the air of a certain city is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for them.
In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants - Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone (O3). The Department of Environment has also set national ambient air quality standards for these pollutants. These standards aim to protect against adverse human health impacts.
Dhaka, the overcrowded capital of Bangladesh, has long been grappling with air pollution. The air quality usually improves during monsoon.
Ferry services on the key Paturia-Daulatdia route resumed after three hours of suspension after the fog lifted on Wednesday.
Zillur Rahman, deputy general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), said the authorities concerned kept the services suspended from around 6:30am because of poor visibility.
Four ferries remained stranded in the middle of the river. An estimated 300 vehicles were stuck at both sides of the river, causing immense sufferings to the commuters.
The ferry services resumed around 9:35am after the visibility improved.
A post office employee allegedly raped a third grader on Tuesday morning in the local GPO premises near Ilisha Hat of Sadar upazila, after alluring her with promise of a new dress.
It has been alleged that Sher Ali, delivery man of branch post office near Ilisha Hat, raped the third grader.
The girl was admitted to Bhola Sadar Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Being informed, police rushed to the Sadar hospital at 7:30 in the evening but could not arrest anyone. Later after returning home, the child showed marks of injury in her body and gave details of the incident to her mother. At night, the father of the child came to know about the ordeal.
Locals and mother of the victim said that the student hailing from the village Gupto Munshi of Purbo Ilisha union under Sadar upazila went to school on Monday morning and she on her way back home went to a shop to buy chocolate. At one stage, Sher Ali, the postman of the branch post office beside the school at Ilisha Bazar, lured the child with promise of new dress and at one stage raped her in a room of the post office.
Later, the post office employee threatened to kill the child if she informed anyone about the incident.
On Tuesday morning, the UP member of the area was informed about the incident. The UP member suggested the victims’ family to take legal action.
However, Shyamol Kanti Ghosh, Post Master of Bhola District Post Office, informed that he doesn’t know anything about the rape incident even though it occurred in the Ilisha branch post office.
Meanwhile, Enayet Hossain, Officer-in-Charge of Bhola police station, said that he visited the child and started investigation into the incident.