Centre may manage immigration desks at GoaBy IANS
Monday, February 7, 2011
PANAJI - Irked by complaints about corruption at the immigration counters at Goa’s seaport and the only military-operated airport, a top level delegation of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) will visit Goa this week to discuss the modalities for taking over the immigration chores from the state police.
A state home ministry official Monday said the delegation, led by Anil Goswami, additional secretary (MHA) in charge of the foreigners section, and Anuj Sharma, director (Immigration), will be meeting Goa Chief Secretary Sanjiv Srivastav Thursday to discuss the details.
The union home ministry wants to finalise and adopt an action plan before fully taking over the management of these immigration desks by Immigration Bureau officials, the senior home ministry official told IANS.
In the recent past, Goa has emerged as a soft entry point for several criminals and the immigration desk, manned by the Goa Police, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons — ranging from corruption to turning a blind eye to a fake passport racket that was unearthed a couple of years back.
The immigration desks are crucial, especially because Goa caters to more than five lakh foreign tourists — especially tourists arriving on charter flights — from the period of October to March annually and the immigration counters are the first point of contact for any incoming overseas traveller.
We received complaints from various consulates about the inefficiency and the unprofessional behaviour of the state police when it came to handling the huge rush of foreign tourists who visit Goa each tourist season, the official said, adding that a sense of professionalism would prevail once seasoned immigration officials were posted at the immigration check posts.
The meeting with the chief secretary would also be attended by senior police as well as state home ministry officials, the official said.