BENGALURU: Even as the Regional Passport Office (RPO) on Monday crossed the magical figure of issuing 30 lakh passports across the State, it is keen on emerging the first in the country to ensure that a database to see that criminals are not issued passports is implemented at the earliest.
The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System mooted by the Ministry of Home Affairs long ago aims at ensuring that a completed real time database of all criminals in the country be maintained, so that one cannot commit a crime in one part of the country and escape from another part after getting a passport. However, the plan is in limbo as many states are not ready with the compilation.
Regional Passport Officer P S Karthigeyan told Express that Karnataka is ahead of the rest of the country. “Even if a few states have the records, we are keen on starting the process here at least on a pilot basis at the earliest. Records from other states can be added later,” he said.
Karthigeyan also said that one could commit a crime in a neighbouring district and there are no records to crosscheck that.
The RPO had issued over 30 lakh passports through Passport Seva Kendras (PSK). They were launched in the state as late as May 22, 2010. The RPO had been functioning since 1978 and all work was centralised here till PSKs came into being to reach out to larger numbers and improve efficiency.
Two Kendras function in Bengaluru (Lalbagh and Sai Arcade on Outer Ring Road), one each in Hubballi-Dharwad and Mangaluru while a passport application procurement centre functions in Kalaburagi.
The PSKs had notched up `454 crore since inception. “We have made `94 crore from January 2016 to November 22 and are heading towards a record turnover of `100 crore for a calendar year,” he said.
The massive pending clearance drive launched in 2010 played a crucial role in shoring up the department’s efficiency.
“A total of 60,000 applications were pending with us. Barring passports pending in court or having a problem due to birth certificate issues, the pending cases have been brought down to zero,” the officer said.