Thursday, October 29, 2009

City to have another passport office

City to have another passport office

Special Correspondent
Seva kendras to be opened in three towns in the State
BANGALORE: There is good news for those seeking passports, especially from Karnataka. As part of the External Affairs Ministry’s ambitious programme of opening passport issuing offices and Seva Kendras in 167 cities all over the country, another passport issuing office will be opened in Bangalore on December 15 as a pilot project.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Wednesday said that the existing office of the Passport Officer will have a passport printing press on its premises, but it would not issue any passports.

He said the city would have one more passport issuing office.

Three passport seva kendras would be set up in Mangalore, Hubli and Gulbarga, which would also work like passport issuing offices but without any printing facility. The exact location of these centres will be announced shortly. Participating in a meet-the-press programme organised by the Press Club of Bangalore, Mr. Krishna said that each of the two offices in Bangalore would have 20 counters. It would have a photographic and finger printing facility.

It would have accommodation for 200 persons with a kiosk and water facility.

The other passport issuing office with these facilities as part of the pilot project would be opened at Jalandhar, the Lok Sabha constituency of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Adviser to the External Affairs Minister Raghavendra Shastry said that the services of Tata Consultancy Services had been roped in for streamlining collection of applications and their speedy processing.

Mr. Shastry said that the people would get passports within three days. The police concerned would be automatically informed and they could say yes or no by a mere click of the computer after verification. In six months, 25 per cent of the seva kendras would be upgraded and by 2010, all the small cities would have seva kendras, which would send queries and complaints to the central offices in the capital, he said.

Asked whether the G-8 Finance Ministers’ meeting would be held in cities other than in the West, Mr. Krishna said that it could be in Bangalore, Mumbai or New Delhi, as India was a member.

The venue need not be in a Western city only, Mr. Krishna said.

The Minister said that he would do his best to assist the countries, which were planning to open their consulates or Embassy office in Bangalore.

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