New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) Ten additional immigration counters have become operational in the departure area of Delhi’s IGI airport where at least 10 more e-visa counters would also be made functional by this month-end to deal with the growing passenger traffic, officials said.

This was conveyed to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba at a high-level meeting called to review plans being implemented to end inconvenience to passengers seeking immigration clearance at the Indira Gandhi International airport here.

It was conveyed in the meeting that 10 more immigration counters have become operational at the departure area on November 15 after the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) provided additional space and the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) arranged manpower and equipment such as passport reading machines, computers, web cameras, and others, a home ministry official said.

At least 10 e-visa counters would be made functional for electronic visa facility for foreigners by November 30.

Additional space is also being arranged to set up another 10 immigration counters for facilitation of travellers in the departure area by January.

Besides, 25 additional counters for electronic visa facility will be made functional by January, for which the BOI is making arrangements for manpower and other infrastructure as planned, the official said.

With the operationalisation of 10 additional counters, the number of such booths has gone up to 85 — both at arrival and departure halls, including those for e-visa.

There has been a 30 per cent increase in international passengers at the IGI airport in the last two years, with serpentine queues at immigration desks, another official said.

The grant of e-visas 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, the official said.

The deployment of additional personnel will augment manpower strength at immigration counters to enable the staff to provide professional and courteous service to travellers.

The government has a policy to encourage foreigners to come to India for tourism, medical tourism, business, and studies and several initiatives have been taken to improve visa and immigration services to provide them with a pleasant experience, the official said.

The decisions will substantially improve immigration services at IGI airport which will facilitate not only foreigners coming to India, but also Indians travelling abroad, he said.

An assessment has found that each passenger spends about 90 seconds at an immigration counter and the immigration authorities are planning to reduce it to 30 seconds, but that will take some time, the official said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.