A fool-proof passport by April 1 ?

Nepal-passport-cover-old Nepal Government has a deadline to issue at least a machine readable passport (MRP) within four months (April 1, 2010). MRPs were around since 1980s and nobody in the concerned ministry bothered to convert our passports until it was too late. We are very fast in changing the logos on it and even debating in changing the flag but, shy of embracing the latest technology and trends.

pq_passport_supplyForeign ministry is selecting the company to print and supply devices for MRPs. By the time we finish moving to MRP passports, ePassport might be the new requirement. Lekhnath Pandey thought (or is it the ‘sources’?) it would be better to go directly for ePassport instead of MRPs . It sure makes sense but isn’t it too much, too late ? I can’t forget the failure of government to supply enough bank notes last Dashain.

Pandey has written that current passport costs $0.82 to print. But, MRP in other hand might cost as high as $20 per passport. Hey, isn’t it only two lines of extra text that could be read by machine? If the cost includes the machine infrastructure then it might make sense.

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