BENGALURU: Regional Passport Offices across the country will send SMS alerts to passport holders six months before the expiry dates of their passports so that people remember to renew them. In an interactive meeting with members of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), on its premises on Wednesday evening, Regional Passport Officer Bharath Kumar Kuthati said, “Many are unaware that if the passport does not have a minimum six-month validity on it, they cannot travel abroad. They realise very late that their passports are not valid.”
Kuthati said that the waiting time to get appointments with the Passport Office has been brought down to 7 to 8 days as on date at the Lalbagh and Marathahalli centres. “It took 30 to 35 days earlier,” he said.
The RPO said that the app-based police verification system being used by police in Bengaluru (mPassport Police) would soon be implemented across Karnataka.
“Police verification is no longer required for the individual’s address but is only used to check if the individual is an Indian citizen and does not have any pending criminal record. The app helps cops send across information on a real-time basis to the passport office after the verification,” he said.
Every Lok Sabha constituency in the state, barring Bagalkot, has a passport Seva Kendra or a Post Office Passport Seva Kendra, as mandated by the MEA. “A passport Seva Kendra, which was to be inaugurated on August 13, could be not done due to heavy rains and floods,” he said. The Bangalore RPO has despatched 7.5 lakh passports in 2018 and barring three cases, it has cleared all its pending cases upto 2017, he said.