40 p.c. of applicants in the city get their credentials verified within 21 days, but it takes around 100 days in north Karnataka
Consider yourself lucky if you are a resident of Bangalore applying for a passport. Although the Karnataka police are among the slowest in the country to process passport applications, those in the State capital fare marginally better than their counterparts in the districts.
Four out of every 10 applicants in the city manage to get the police to verify their credentials and issue a clearance certificate within 21 days.
However, if one were to apply for police clearance anywhere else in Karnataka, it can take an average of 51 days for clearance. And in most north Karnataka districts, you would be lucky to have the formalities completed by the police within 100 days.
In comparison, it takes an average of 14 days for the same process to be completed in the national capital.
Revealing these statistics compiled by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Regional Passport Officer P.S. Karthigeyan has said that the delay in police verifications remains the only hurdle to passports being issued quickly.
Speaking to presspersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Karthigeyan said, “Despite these delays and our perennial staff shortage, more than four lakh passports were issued [in the Karnataka region] during the last calendar year.”
Incentive and bribe
Mr. Karthigeyan said that the MEA’s initiative of giving the police an incentive of Rs. 100 for processing applications within 21 days had received a positive response. Asked about rampant demands for bribes by the police and the insignificance of the Rs. 100 incentive, he said, “The money we give is just token encouragement. The issue of corruption is something the Police Department has to address internally.”
Other than the delay, there was little else preventing speedy deliveries of passports. “Passport appointments are very easy to get now. In fact, we now have more days open for booking and lesser number of applicants,” he said.