The Passport Office, Coimbatore has embarked on a strategy to speed up processing of applications by conducting adalats and sensitisation programme for officers and applications.
Similarly, discreet inquiry by police is already on into 200 cases of applications submitted through fraudulent means and forged documents i.e., fictitious address and bogus documents.
As on date, the Passport Office has nearly 1,500 applications that are pending for long time due to incomplete details or awaiting police verification reports (either adverse or incomplete reports), steps are being take to achieve zero pendency in the next couple of months.
S. Sasikumar, Passport Officer said that passport adalats will be organised at frequent intervals for expeditious disposal of pending applications that required clarifications or resolving of query raised over incomplete details.
Sensitisation programme will also be organised for police officers and those district passport cell with the service provider i.e., Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in charge of Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Coimbatore.
The passport office at Coimbatore came into existence on September 15, 2008 until then Coimbatore came under the Regional Passport Office – Chennai.
The passport office at Coimbatore caters to the needs of people living in the Nilgiris, Coimbatore City and Rural District, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem City and Rural District.
Ever since September 15, 2008, when the passport came into operation, it received 21,041 applications in just three-and-a-half months.
In 2009, it witnessed a quantum jump with 71, 228 applications and in 2010 it shot up to 75,999.
However, in 2011 it was 57,121 applications. In mid-2011, PSK was inaugurated.
The Passport Office had received 2,25,389 applications and had despatched 2,20,375 passports and of the 11,795 applications for miscellaneous services such as name change, spouse entry, replacement of passport for having extra pages and address change, so far 11,566 applications had been cleared.
So far, In 2011, alone as many as four adalats were held in the months of January, February, March and September of the 424 representations 198 cases had been cleared.
Pendency was primarily due to incomplete information or unresolved queries raised during the processing of application.
After the inauguration of PSK, acceptance of application at the Passport office has been stopped how ever the District Passport Cells continue to function as usual from the district collector's office premises.
The PSK has so far received 24,188 applications and had issued 13,459 passports and it had issued 3,236 passports under tatkal category.
Of the 496 applications for miscellaneous services, 463 had been cleared. Time involved from acceptance of application to issue of passport has come down considerably because of the verification report management done through electronic format.
Mr.Sasikumar pointed out that under tatkal category applications, passports are despatched either on the same day or next day, if the application and documents annexed were in order.
In case of ordinary category applications, the passports are despatched within one to three days on receipt of police verification report.
Average time taken for processing passports has come down.
It was 35 days in October 2011 for fresh passport, 20 days in November 2011 and in December 2011 it came down to just three days.
With regard to time taken for re-issue of passports it used be 13 days in October 2011 and it had come down to seven days in November 2011 and from December 2011 it is just one day.
Pendency or delay in despatch of passports normally happened owing to delay in police verification reports, contradicting information in application, incomplete details or delay in resolving the query raised during the processing of application.