High Commission in Dhaka does not control visa: Pankaj Saran | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

High Commission in Dhaka does not control visa: Pankaj Saran

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Indian mission in Dhaka does not control its visa system “at all”, High Commissioner Pankaj Saran has said on the heels of allegation of difficulties in getting appointment dates for visa.
“The entire system is being administered and controlled and run from New Delhi. It is a global system and we have conveyed to our headquarters the specific problems for Bangladesh,” he said, replying to a question at ‘DCAB talk’.
Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association of Bangladesh (DCAB) organised the discussion on Thursday chaired by its President Masud Karim. General Secretary Bashir Ahmed was also present.
India issues on an average between 2,500 and 3,000 visas to Bangladeshis a day. Businessmen are getting multiple-entry visas as long as five years.
But visa seekers were finding it difficult to get appointments to apply.
After massive allegations, the State Bank of India, which manages the visa in Bangladesh, scrapped the appointment date provision for all categories, except tourists.
Even then, a journalist said it was still difficult to get Indian visa. The High Commissioner said he was “aware” of the difficulties.
“We are trying our best to see how we can mitigate and reduce the difficulties, especially when it comes to online application”.
He said the appointment date provision was done away with to make things easier.
“We are looking at multiple solutions (on tourist visa issue) including doing an audit of our technical system, where is the problem for lack of availability of dates”.
“That audit is being done by our technical people in India. High Commission does not control the system at all,” he said.
“Our idea is to make it easy, simple, and transparent. We don’t tolerate any agents and any other unscrupulous elements in between,” he said, adding that Indian visa is free of cost and the nominal charge is being taken by the outsourcing agency, State Bank of India.
“We would like to keep this as it is (free),” he said.
The envoys stressed increasing people-to-people contacts and better connectivity.
He said India and Bangladesh were “mutual partners”, and his country was committed in ensuring that both countries “grow and prosper together, in an atmosphere of peace, stability and mutual security and mutual benefit”.

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