NEW DELHI: The long wait at Indira Gandhi International airport is soon going to be over with the airport operator setting up 10 additional immigration counters to improve the services and better facilitate the fliers.
Once these counters are fully operational on November 20, the waiting time for fliers at the airport will be reduced from 22 minutes to 10 minutes in keeping with international norm.
At a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba at the North Block on Friday, the airport operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) executives informed that as many as 10 additional counters for clearances have been put up at the departure area. Representatives from the Bureau of Immigration told the meeting that it is deploying additional manpower and equipment like passport reading machines, computers and web cameras to man these new counters which will be operationalised by November 20.
“The waiting time of 10 minutes at the airport is internationally compatible and the services will be further improved with more such counters being operationalised by January next,” a Home Ministry official said.
The meeting on immigration comes after a fortnight of similar meeting held by Guaba to improve the services at the airport.
On November 2, the Home Ministry had decided to set up 20 immigration and 35 e-visa counters to shorten the queues and facilitate smooth travel for both the foreign and domestic flyers.
The Ministry’s emphasis on improving the services comes in the backdrop of a commotion at the airport on October 31 at the arrival counter due to shortage of sufficient number of counters.
The Ministry is considering an array of measures including technology upgradation, provision of modern equipment, additional space, professional manpower and the like for improving immigration services at Delhi Airport.
With a view to improve the immigration services, the Ministry decided that DIAL will provide additional space for at least 10 more immigration counters at “Departure area” by November 15, 2017. BoI will provide manpower and other equipment like passport reading machines, computers and web cameras among others to make these counters functional by November 20, 2017.
In addition to the 10 immigration counters, DIAL will also provide space for another 10 such counters for facilitation of travellers in the ‘Departure area’. These counters will be functional by January next year.
Besides the 20 immigration counters, at least 10 e-Visa counters will be made functional for electronic Visa facility for foreigners by November 30, 2017. In addition to the 10 e-visa counters to be operationalised by November end, another 25 electronic Visa facility will be made functional by January next year.
The additional e-visa counters will facilitate foreigners availing electronic visa which is becoming increasingly popular, the Home Ministry had said after the November 2 meeting.
To man these immigration and e-visa counters, the BoI will provide additional manpower of 1,800 personnel for improving immigration services by filling up vacant posts, inducting personnel from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and also some ex-servicemen.