Walk-in facility withdrawn for three categories of applicants

Taking cognisance of the popular demand, the Tiruchi Regional Passport Office has decided to bring Pudukottai district under the jurisdiction of the Tiruchi Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) with effect from November 18. Pudukottai district is under the jurisdiction of Thanjavur PSK which caters to Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, and Nagapattinam districts while the Tiruchi PSK serves Tiruchi, Karur, and Perambalur districts.

There have been persistent demands from applicants from Pudukottai that the district be brought under the jurisdiction of Tiruchi PSK. “We have been receiving requests from public that the applicants of Pudukottai be served at the Tiruchi PSK as they have better connectivity to Tiruchi,” said K. Balamurugan, Regional Passport Officer, Tiruchi. On an average, the Passport Office receives about 100 passport applications a day from Pudukottai district. The move is expected to decongest the Thanjavur PSK.

“The Thanjavur and Tiruchi PSKs process about 800 applications every day. Of this, nearly 550 to 600 applications are processed at Thanjavur PSK as it serves applicants from five districts. By bringing Pudukottai under Tiruchi PSK, we hope to bring down the crowd in Thanjavur,” Mr. Balamurugan told The Hindu.

Touts often take advantage of the overcrowding at the PSK in Thanjavur to fleece gullible applicants and some charge up to Rs.1,000 for filling the online applications. The shift in the jurisdiction will help prevent such instances.

Online appointment

The Passport Office has decided to restrict the number of walk-in applicants, a facility extended to certain category of applicants who need not wait to get online appointments for personal appearance at both PSKs. Accordingly, only 60 walk-in applicants will be entertained a day at the Tiruchi PSK and 100 at the Thanjavur PSK on first-come first-served basis.

Mr. Balamurugan said very often more than 150 applicants turn up at the PSKs under the walk-in categories, posing difficulties in serving them. At times, some of them have to be asked to come later. In another significant move, the Passport Office has withdrawn the walk-in facility for certain category of applicants. Applicants seeking deletion of ECR status, inclusion/deletions of name of spouse in passports and re-issue of passports in case of exhaustion of visa pages will be required to obtain appointment online upon filing their applications online. “Since there is no longer any problem in getting appointments online, we have decided to withdraw the facility to these three categories of applicants,” Mr. Balamurugan said. The restriction in numbers was expected to reduce the crowd and improve service at the PSKs.

However, senior citizens, minor children, government servants, and public sector employees and applicants seeking police clearance certificates can still avail the walk-in facility. Applicants of these categories would have to file their applications online, but need not wait for getting appointments online.

Approved facilitation counters run by ex-servicemen are functioning at both PSKs to help people file applications and generate appointments online at a nominal fee of Rs.50 and Rs.20 respectively. Apart from this, a 24-hour helpline at the toll-free number 1800-258-1800 is functioning for providing general information, application status, and police verification status to applicants.

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