Monday, July 25, 2005

Passport applications at Bangalore One soon

Passport applications at Bangalore One soon
Deccan Herald

Bangalore One centres will be equipped with trained manpower and facilities to receive forms for fresh passports soon.

Long painful queues at the regional passport office will soon become history. By the end of August this year, Bangaloreans will be able to deposit their application for fresh passport at any of the Bangalore One centres in the City.

In an effort to bring more civic facilities under one roof, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) (e-governance) had requested the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India, to allow it to collect the forms for fresh passports from applicants at the Bangalore One centres. There are 14 centres in the City.

“We have got the approval from the Central government. They have however, asked us to route the forms to the passport and police departments so that they can keep a track,” said Deputy secretary, DPAR (e-governance) G Sathyavathi.

When contacted, the regional passport officer (RPO) P Kumaran said the move will help decongest traffic at the passport office to a large extent. “One of the biggest complaints of people here is that they have to stand in long queues to submit their applications for passports. From end of August or early September this year Bangalore One centres will be equipped with trained manpower and facilities to receive the forms for fresh passports. We now need to work out the modalities and the technical aspect. We will shortly be giving them a checklist of the aspects they need to look for while accepting a form,” he said.

Mr Kumaran however, added that the facility will only benefit Bangaloreans, who form 50 to 55 per cent of the people applying for passports in Karnataka.

He said the integration of services between the regional passport office and Bangalore One centres will “reduce the burden on the staff” at the passport office. “We will be able to use their services for the processing of forms thus bringing down the pendency level, which at present is again a matter of concern,” said the officer.

One of the reasons for pendency is lack of adequate staff. “We have sanctioned posts for 84, including officials and others but the actual strength here is only 70,” he added.

If all goes well, by June 2006, the passport department will be shifted to its new premises, near the Games Village in Koramangala. “The CPWD has promised a new passport office. It will have better facilities with lot of parking space and more waiting area for the people,” said Mr Kumaran.

Meanwhile, besides getting permission to collect applications for fresh passports, the DPAR (e-governance) is planning to offer other services such as renewal of learning license (LL), payment of tax for transport vehicles, renewal of license for shops and establishments, collection of Tata Indicom bills etc at the Bangalore One centres, said Ms Sathyavathi.


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