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Ricky Kej calls immigration at Bangalore airport ‘pathetic’

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Immigration at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) has recently come under criticism. A month after top biotech boss Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw criticized KIA immigration, Grammy winner Ricky Kej on Sunday called airport immigration “pathetic.”

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

In another tweet, Mr Kej said: ‘How can we build Brand India if this is the welcome everyone gets at airports. The first impression of India for foreign travellers. The music composer said that there are several lines for immigration check at the airport including Air Suvidha, immigration, check if immigration stamp is correct, baggage check, collection bags and customs carry out an additional check. He asked the authorities to reduce the steps.

In April, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw, executive chairman and founder of Biocon, criticized the immigration process at the airport, calling it a nightmare. In a social media post, she said the process had to be smart and digital. She advocated for the use of facial recognition technology to effectively enter and exist. Responding to Mr Kej’s tweet on Sunday, she said: “Unfortunately the handling of immigration is pathetic since BIAL was ordered not to interfere by central and state authorities. If you recall when BIAL started NRN [N. R. Narayana Murthy] succeeded in convincing the government to accept that immigration officers be computer trained — now that is no longer 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 fix immigration. While the capacity building is important, the traffic flow is pathetic. Please consider biometrics to speed things up,” she said.

However, many commuters also disagreed with Mr Kej. For example, Shravan Shetty tweeted: “I disagree with you. I came to Bengaluru airport 16 times. Had immigration been delayed maybe twice, many flights landed at the same time. It’s the same even in American airports. Mr Kej later added that he did not single out the management of BIAL, but complained about the system itself, whoever was involved – for poorly managed and complacent immigration, and too many flights above capacity.

Bangalore International Airport Ltd., the airport operator, did not comment on the matter. A source at the airport said: “There was a long queue as three international flights from Middle Eastern and European countries landed during these hours. This could have caused more delays in immigration.