The Department of Immigration and Emigration, which is postponing the introduction of the new e-passports day by day, is reported to be making plans to create a shortage of existing passports in the near future.
The department is delaying the tender for the introduction of an e-passport despite a Cabinet decision to call for such a tender.
However, the current passport is being issued to the Department of Immigration and Emigration by the infamous Epic Lanka Technology Company over a period of time.
Epic’s actions problematic….
Moreover, it has been revealed through judicial proceedings that EpicLanka Technologies is directly involved in the erasing of data from theNational Drug Regulatory Authority data base.
Tharindara Kalpage, CEO of Epic Lanka Technologies, was arrested and released on bail, while Pramod Dilupa Ramanayake, a software engineer at Epic Lanka Technologies, was arrested and remanded.
Epic’s sinister plan
With the recent increase in demand for passports, around 4,000 passports arebeing issued daily, according to Immigration and Emigration internal sources. Accordingly, the stocks in hand at present is around 400,000 passports and this will suffice only for around another 7-8 months.
However, experts say it will take at least a year and a half to call for a tender for an e-passport and reach a final decision and finally issue it to the public.
According to the sources, the Department of Immigration and Emigration will therefore, once again have to order a stock of old passports through Epic.
They are preparing to take this decision despite a cabinet memorandum warning them not to obtain the old passports from Epic Lanka Technologies and not to prolong the process.
Accordingly, it is reported that Epic Lanka Technologies is also preparing to take a strange approach to supply the relevant demand as soon as it is received from the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
These internal sourcessaid that Epic Lanka Technologies are now preparing to charge a lower rate fororders of One million passports and a higher rate for orders of 500,000passports. Their intention is to somehow sell over a million passports to the Immigration and Emigration Department.
Therefore, they are aiming at somehow extending the supply of old passports to the Department and continuing their scam, according to those who know about it.
Declining status of the Sri Lankan Passport
Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizen and resident consulting firm, ranks the Sri Lankan passport at 102nd in their Henley Passport Index, which determines the value of a passport.
Based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the index covers 111 countries.However, the othercountries in the same position as Sri Lanka are Lebanon and Sudan.
Accordingly, Sri Lankan passports are permitted entry without visas to only 41countries and out of them 22 countries issue visas on arrival.