Ricky Kej terms immigration at Bengaluru airport ‘pathetic’

Ricky Kej

Ricky Kej

Immigration at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) has drawn flak of late. A month after Biotech honcho Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw slammed immigration at the KIA, Grammy award winner Ricky Kej on Sunday termed immigration at the airport “pathetic”.

The music composer took to social media to share his harrowing experience after landing at the airport in the wee hours of Sunday. He tweeted: “Pathetic state of immigration at the Bengaluru International Airport. Been in the line for over an hour now. Currently well over 1000 people are waiting, not all counters working, staff is clueless, inefficient. @BLR Airport why have so many flights, when there is no capacity”? He also shared a video of a long queue of flyers waiting for immigration. The post was shared widely on the social media platform.

In another tweet, Mr. Kej said, “How are we expected to build Brand India if this is the welcome that everyone gets at the airports. The first impression of India for foreign travellers.” The music composer said there are several lines for immigration check at the airport, including Air Suvidha, immigration, check if immigration stamp is accurate, baggage screening, collecting bags, and Customs do additional screening. He demanded authorities to reduce the steps.

In April, Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw , executive chairperson and founder of Biocon, had criticised the immigration process at the airport, calling it a nightmare. In a social media post, she said that process needs to be smart and digital. She advocated for use of face recognition technology to make entry and exist efficiently. Responding to Mr. Kej’s tweet on Sunday, she said: “Unfortunately immigration management has been pathetic ever since BIAL has been told not to interfere by Central and State authorities. If you recall when BIAL started NRN [N. R. Narayana Murthy] had managed to get the government to agree to get immigration officers computer trained — now it is not possible”. She tagged Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asking him to look into the matter. “We can’t make our airports international hubs unless we sort out immigration. Whilst capacity building is great, traffic flow is pathetic. Please do think about biometrics to speed things up,” she said.

However, many commuters also disagreed with Mr. Kej. For instance, Shravan Shetty tweeted: “I disagree with you. Have come to Bengaluru airport 16 times. Had delayed immigration maybe two times, many flights landed at the same time. It’s the same even in US airports.”. Mr. Kej later added that he was not singling out BIAL management, but was complaining about the system itself, whoever may be involved — for the mismanaged and complacent immigration, and having way too many flights above capacity.

Bangalore International Airport Ltd., the operator of the airport, did not offer any comments on the issue. A source in the airport said, “There was a long queue as three international flights from Middle East countries and Europe landed during those hours. That could have caused more delays in immigration.”

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 9:29:00 pm |