India expresses concern over quality of new passports in Nepal

Three months after the Nepalese government scrapped a passport deal with India and awarded it to Oberthur Technologies of France, New Delhi has officially conveyed its concern to Nepal over the quality of passports that the French firm would supply.

The Indian Embassy here wrote a letter to the Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 12 expressing its concern over the quality of the passports after media reports claimed that "security features in MRPs have been diluted" while awarding the tender to the French firm, sources said.

While expressing its concern over reported sub-standard smart passports, the letter noted that Nepalese citizens have been given many privileges in India on the basis of their passports and "dilution of standard of the passports is therefore a matter of concern", the sources said.

According to the Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950, Nepalese passport holders can buy land and house, join jobs and engage in business activities in India due to the open border.

Earlier, the Nepalese government had cancelled the contract it signed with the Indian Security Press to supply MRPs under pressure from Maoists.
The French firm has proposed to personalise passports using printers of PARK and OPC Co Ltd, South Korea, according to officials.

Two other bidders- Perum Peruri (Indonesia) and De La Rue (UK) – have alleged that the printers of PARK and OPC do not fully comply with the specifications mentioned in the tender document.

The French company which quoted USD 3.59 per passport was selected among the four international bidders.
India's Security Minting and Printing Corporation did not participate in the new tender.

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