Three new postal passport seva kendras to be opened in Karnataka in a month
By Nandini Chandrashekar | Express News Service | Published: 20th May 2017 04:24 AM |
BENGALURU: The state will have three additional centres for processing of passports in a month’s time. The Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) are smaller centres to submit passport applications and the three new centres in Davangere, Belagavi and Hassan are set to be operational in a month. At present, a similar centre in Mysuru is completely operational.
The centres are attached to post offices and a fully functional Passport Seva Kendra will operate from them, where people can submit their passport applications, the biometrics and have it approved. Only the printing of the passports will be done at the Passport Office in Bengaluru.
In the initial stages however, the granting stage of the passports will be done in Bengaluru, as the Passport Office is trying to juggle available human resources due to shortage of personnel.
The centres were expected to be operational by end of March, but have been hampered by delays. Passport Officer Bharath Kumar Kuthati, an Indian Foreign Service officer of 2006 batch who took charge recently, said that they were waiting for the space to be identified by the Post Office and it could be set up quickly. “On our side, we are ready to operate these centres. Once the Department of Posts identifies the location, we will be ready to move in. Setting up our operations will not take long. We expect to set up the whole operations in one month’s time,” he said.
Each of these centres will cater to the district where it is being set up along with one or two neighbouring districts and will be capable of issuing roughly about 120 appointments in a day. “We have cross checked our data about the number of appointments necessary for these centres and this will be more than enough to cater to the local population. The Mysuru centre also handles roughly around the same number of applications,” Kuthati said.
The opening of more centres is further likely to reduce the burden on the existing four Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Hubballi-Dharwad. Though the appointment time has drastically come down to just one day now, the Lalbagh PSK alone handles about 1,800 appointments in a day.
The pendency of passports which had crept up alarmingly in the early part of the year has reduced. Roughly about 20,000 applications had been pending, many of them being applications submitted at the newly opened POPSK in Mysuru. Bharat Kumar said the Passport Office staff had been busy with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
“In the meanwhile, there was a change of Passport Officers and also a severe shortage of staff. All this increased the pendency and tackling that has been our first priority. The pendency is now at 5,000 and it will decrease further soon,” he promised.