Many still wait for long hours at Protocol Department’s office in the Secretariat for manual tokens

Long queues continue at the Protocol Department’s office in the Secretariat, even after applications for attestation services have been made online. Problems on the government website only add to the agony.

Though the online services began November 23 this year, many continue to throng the office from 5 a.m. everyday, braving the cold winter mornings.

“I waited for five hours, from 6 a.m., to get a token so that my educational certificates could be attested,” complained N. Sandeep.

What’s more, issuing tokens online by the government has created problems for illiterates as they cannot use computers. Abdul Bashir (50), a resident of Old City, had no choice but to cough up Rs.500 to an agent, who applied for the attestation of his son’s certificates online.

“I cannot wait for such a long time out there, so I had no other option,” he lamented.

Sandeep added that the situation was worse now as the number of manual tokens issued was less than before as more were being issued online. The online process has also increased scope for touts to misguide unwary applicants, and a few of them hang around the attestation office looking for those who are not able to get tokens easily.

The agents approach the applicants promising “to get things done quickly” if they were paid Rs. 500 extra. And many people fall in their trap.

Poor awareness

“Right now there isn’t much awareness about the online process, so we will continue to issue tokens manually for two months. Also, some people do not authenticate their documents properly online, but we send them emails informing them how to do it properly,” said Mohd. Basha, assistant section officer, Protocol Department.

He said they are also issuing less number of tokens manually now, as they are giving the same online as well. “The limit is 60 per day through the internet, for both tatkal and normal tickets. We also take applications voluntarily if too many people are standing in the queues,” he said.

Mr. Basha also pointed out that security personnel have been posted outside to prevent touts from exploiting the gullible applicants.

Website to book online tokens

Online tokens can be booked on the www.apnri.ap.gov.in. After logging onto the site, applicants must select the option ‘NRI Services’ on the upper left hand side and then select ‘Attestation’. A new page will open where the tokens can be attained, after filling the form in the prescribed manner.

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