Delay in the issue of passports due to technical problems during the past few months has come as a boon to brokers to entice gullible applicants. Though the passport authorities are making concerted efforts to clear the pending applications, the brokers are giving a tough time to the officials and staff by giving wrong information to applicants.

The passport authorities organised adalats at the Old Passport Office on Wednesdays during last month. The adalats were meant to clear applications that were pending for more than six months. But applicants, whose files were pending for two months or even less, made a beeline for the old office forcing the authorities to cancel the adalats for the whole of this month.

A large number of people turned up at the old Passport Office though there was no adalat on Wednesday. An applicant, who came for a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC), was approached by a broker, who offered to get the job done for Rs.3,000. He said that the passport office was shifted and the staff had also moved to the new office.

The applicant did not pay him the money but waited outside the old office. When the security man opened the gate, he rushed in and picked up an argument with the staff that they could not prevent brokers.

The security staff took him to Passport Officer V.S.D.L. Surendra, who enlightened the applicant on the methods being adopted by brokers to make a fast buck. He said that all the pending ‘miscellaneous' applications (additional booklet, spouse name inclusion, PCC etc.) would be cleared by September 31.

A passport adalat would be held on October 5 and there after it would be held once a month. The data was now being updated on the Internet and candidates could check it online. The target was to clear all the pending applications by the end of December, he added.

More In: Visakhapatnam