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Govt's move on passport privatisation irks Left

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 1: The Left parties today trained their guns on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is holding the External Affairs portfolio, for the reported move to outsource operations of Regional Passport Offices.

Referring to the ''misuse'' of visa by Sher Singh Rana, the prime suspect in the killing of 'Bandit Queen' Phoolan Devi, the CPI(M) and the CPI said if passport department was privatised, such scandals would become routine.

Taking to UNI, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said the Prime Minister should personally intervene in the matter as the move would affect the country in terms of image and national secruity.

''The passport is a vital security document and handling it to private agencies can prove to be detrimental to our internal and external secuirty,'' said Mr Bardhan.

The move is fraught with greater dangers, said Shamim Faizi, the CPI National Secretary.

Recalling the assurance given by the then External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh while answering a supplementary in the Lok Sabha, CPI(M) Parliamentary Party leader in the Lower House, Basudeb Achariya, said the government had given the commitment that it would not privatise Regional Passport Offices (RPOs).

''I will personally talk to the Prime Minister, who is holding the External Affairs portfolio seek a clarification whether the government has changed its stance,'' said Mr Achariya.

He said the Minister had also assured that outsourcing of RPOs would also not be undertaken and added that his party's Rajya Sabha MP A Vjyaraghvan had also shot off a letter the Prime Minister on the issue.

The CPI (M) MP pointed out that the tendency of the government was to go private instead of filling up the sanctioned posts and also not carrying out any study to verify the proportion of increase in staff strength and workload.

CPI (M) Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe said it made no sense why the government was in a hurry to privatise every sector. ''Such steps show that the government wants to abdicate its responsbilities.''


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