4 May 2008, 0202 hrs IST, Daniel P George,TNN
CHENNAI: Nearly 46,000 people across the country will have to surrender their passports and get them exchanged for new ones, as the government has recalled passports with serial numbers Z-000001 to Z-045925, most of them issued in Dubai.
"The government has issued instructions that all Indian passports with serial numbers Z-000001 to Z-045925 are to be recalled and new passports issued in their place," a release said.
Though the official announcement did not specify the reason for the recall, sources here say there could be chances of some of the passports issued in Dubai, falling into "wrong hands". Holders of the ‘Z’ series of passports will now have to submit fresh applications. While those in Dubai can approach the Indian Consulate there, those in India can approach the regional passport office concerned.
Sources in the MEA’s passport and visa division in New Delhi, however, said that passports were being recalled not just from Dubai but from all over the world. They added that this was because of a technical error in these travel documents.
Sources in the Chennai International Airport said immigration officials have been asked to look out for the passport, especially with passengers from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) sources in Mumbai police said:
"We and the immigration authorities at the Chatrapathi Shivaji International Airport have special instructions to keep a watch for passports of the ‘Z’ series."
Dubai’s population increased from 1.130 million in 2005 to 1.422 million in 2006, with Indians adding to the growth. People from TN, who constitute about 20% of UAE population, are a worried lot as they could face problems while travelling.