New Delhi. With a 30 per cent increase in international passengers at the Delhi airport in the last two years, the government is planning to increase manpower at the immigration desks which have been witnessing serpentine queues of late, officials said.
The officials argued that the infrastructure at the airport was not keeping pace with the rush, which has increased approximately from 30,000 in 2015 to 41,000 passengers per day now.
Passengers coming from abroad have been facing tough time as immigration clearance taking more time than usual, they said.
A team of home ministry officials visited the immigration counters at the IGI Airport yesterday to see why so many complaints were coming from passengers.
A home ministry official said the increase in passengers due to grant of e-visa to citizens of over 160 countries in the recent past which led to the arrival of a large number of tourists, was one of the key reasons.
Besides, there have been allegations that many immigration officers leave counters in rush hours for tea/ lunch/dinner breaks and that some of them were not well trained.
The home ministry team has suggested immediate increase in manpower and immigration counters and resource management to cut the long queues.
The Delhi airport has around 75 immigration counters — both at arrival and departure halls, including those for e- visa.
An assessment has found that each passenger spends about 50-90 seconds at an immigration counter and the immigration authorities are now planning to reduce it to 30 seconds but for that some more time is required, another official said.
There are four business class counters but these were also opened up for general public seeing the problems at the airport by the immigration authorities.
The ministry is also planning training programmes for the immigration staff for faster clearance of passengers as it has been found that many of them are not well trained since they were on deputation from different ministries.
Some of the passengers have also complained of alleged bias on the part of the immigration officials, claiming that those coming from European countries were comparatively spending less time in queues than the people coming from Gulf nations, the official said.