Tech teams arrive as software glitch continues to delay passport services in Bhubaneswar

Sources said currently, about 1,500 applications are pending at PSK level.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

BHUBANESWAR: Adoption of new software for passport application posing serious inconvenience to applicants even three months after its rollout in the state has prompted the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to send in an expert team to look into the glitches.

On Thursday, a technical team of MEA arrived at Bhubaneswar regional passport office (RPO) to examine the technical problems.

The MEA had launched Passport Seva Programme (PSP V2.0) in Bhubaneswar and Nagpur on a pilot basis on April 1.

The Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) was selected as the service provider for the project but ever since the launch, its new software threw up problems with applicants having to wait for at least two months to get appointments.

Under PSP V1.O, the Bhubaneswar RPO was able to deal about 850-900 daily appointment applications for normal and tatkaal passports, police clearance certificate (PCC) required in some countries for people visiting on work permit or student visa as well as to clear the cases-on-hold where document submission was pending.

However, after PSP V2.0 rollout in April, the daily passport appointments dropped to 20 per cent. Currently, tatkaal passport appointments have been increased but regular passport appointments are carried out at a slow pace.

As a result, applicants from the state are visiting RPOs in places like Ranchi, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam to avail passport services to tide over the delay. Initially, when PSP V2.O was experiencing glitches, Bhubaneswar RPO and 20 passport seva kendras across the state received only 220 appointment applications a day. The number has now increased to 350.

However, natives of Odisha staying in other states are able to apply for passport services using the old software (PSP V1.O) as the new version is yet to be rolled out elsewhere. Under the previous version of PSP, people from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh would turn up at Bhubaneswar RPO seeking appointments because of the swiftness of disposal here, sources said.

For application of fresh passports as well as renewal, there is no jurisdictional restriction in place. For tatkaal services, however, application for appointments must be made in the place of residence.

As the new software continues to throw up glitches and engineers work 24X7 to resolve the issues, a team of the software developer firm too has joined the technical team of MEA in the state capital.

Sources said currently, about 1,500 applications are pending at PSK level. “Technicians are working hard to resolve the issues and there has already been improvement at software’s backend. The ministry is very serious to bring operations back to normalcy and issues are expected to be sorted out soon,” Regional Passport Officer, Sudhansu Sekhar Mishra told this paper.

Tatkaal passport services, however, are not much affected and Bhubaneswar RPO receives about 100 applications each day.

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