Issuance of passports in the new format is expected to begin next Wednesday
Chennai Regional Passport Office (RPO) may perhaps be the first in the country to issue passports containing additional security features.
In the new passport, personal particulars of holders will be printed on the second page instead of the inner cover page, C. Senthil Pandian, Regional Passport Officer, Chennai told The Hindu here on Thursday.
Talking about the other changes in the new passport, Mr. Pandian said the rest of the details of passport holders would be printed on page 35 instead of the last page. Similarly, the signature and seal of the passport issuing authority will be printed on the front overleaf page instead of page one.
There have been instances of criminals replacing photos in a bid to make fake passports.
To remedy this possibility, provision has been made in the new passport for laminating the second and third pages in the front and pages 35 and 36 on the back.
It would, thus, be difficult to tamper with the details or remove the photographs. Moreover, in the old passport there were complaints of smudging and lack of clarity in photographs.
But, in the new passports as the pages are laminated all these problems can be avoided, said Mr. Pandian.
Old passport still valid
With the issuance of new passport, one should not think that the old passport has to be surrendered and a new passport obtained from the authorities, Mr. Pandian clarified.
The old passport’s validity will be alive till its expiry date.
The issuance of passports in the new format is expected to begin next Wednesday.
At present, the Chennai RPO has a stock of nearly 3,500 old passports. In order to clear this stock, the officials are also helping the other RPOs in the State by printing the passports from Chennai RPO.
Passport applicants from Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Puducherry and Karaikal can walk in to the Saligramam Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) for passport-related work without any appointment.
All that the applicants have to do is to fill the forms online and generate the application reference number with which they can just walk in at the Saligramam PSK, he said.
More passports issued last year
Compared to 2011, the Chennai RPO has issued 60,000 more passports in 2012. During 2011 a total of 2.58 lakh passports were issued, which rose to 3.18 lakh in the succeeding year, Mr. Pandian added.