BENGALURU: In a commendable gesture, the Regional Passport Office in Bengaluru opened its Koramangala office on Saturday evening and asked its staff to report for duty to issue emergency passports to two brothers to visit their critically ill mother in Australia. The beneficiaries were two top bank officials, G V Raghuseshu, Chief Manager of the Tavarekere branch of Canara Bank and G V Rama Mohan, Chief Manager of Vijaya Bank.
Tragedy intruded into their lives on Saturday evening through a phone call from their sibling, a resident of Sydney. “He informed brothers that their mother (who was on a visit to his place) was involved in a terrible fire accident and battling for life in a hospital,” B S Gangadhar, Public Relations Manager of Canara Bank told The New Indian Express. They were asked to rush immediately to Australia, he added.
“The brothers, who were desperate to visit their mother, did not have a passport with them. As soon as I got to know of their problem, I called up the Regional Passport Officer Bharath Kumar Khutati for help at 5 pm. He swung into action and called up staffers from their homes and opened the Koramangala office for the purpose. The brother got their passports on hand by 9.45 pm,” the Manager said.
Since the duo had already contacted VFS, they got an appointment fixed on Monday morning in connection with their visa to Australia, Gangadhar said. “The terrific support rendered by the passport office to go out of their way and help one family at a time of enormous distress deserves all credit,” he added.
Khutati confirmed the incident to The New Indian Express. “We did our best to issue it as quickly as possible to the family. Since all the systems were shut down, it took a little time to start them and issue the passports. We were really glad we could do our bit to help the family in distress,” he said. However, the story ended on a sad note as the brothers received news on Monday evening about the death of their mother in the hospital.
Now, shorter wait for passport appointment
A piece of good news is in store for passport applicants from Bengaluru. The waiting time to get an appointment with the passport offices has been brought down to 15 days now. Express had highlighted in its report recently about the huge delay in getting an appointment at the three Passport Seva Kendras in the city: 30 days at Lalbagh, 29 days at Marthahalli and 41 days at Jalahalli. Even an application through Tatkal took 15 days then. Regional Passport Officer Bharath Kumar Khutati told TNIE, “By holding a series of passport melas during weekends to clear the rush of passport applicants and by accepting more number of applications each day, we managed to drastically reduce the waiting period. We will be reducing the waiting period further.”