Warns them against approaching brokers, agents

One agent from State sent 400 fraud documents

US consulate to be opened next year

HYDERABAD: David Hopper, Consul-General, US Consulate, Chennai, on Wednesday cautioned visa applicants against seeking the help of touts, brokers or agents as any false information would render them permanently ineligible to get a visa.

In a brief chat with reporters after attending the inaugural of a new offshore facility of Vensoft company here, he expressed concern at the increasing number of fake documents received by the Chennai Consulate. He said most of the fake documents, when traced back, were from Andhra Pradesh.

He said such documents from AP ran into hundreds and one agent from the State was found to have sent 400 packages of fraudulent documents. People sent through him would not get their visas. Such people were getting cheated by document vendors, he said.

Urging visa applicants to provide accurate and genuine information, Mr. Hopper said measures taken to reduce the waiting time from five to six months to two or three weeks was also being misinterpreted by some as having easier access to visa.

He pointed out that the visa standards had not changed but the process had been made more efficient.

He said the US Consulate would be opened in the city next year for delivering better services.

Union Minister of State for Defence M. M. Pallam Raju said that a $ 10 billion opportunity could be tapped as the offset policy for purchase of defence products of more than Rs.300 crores had stipulated that 30 per cent of it should be sourced from India. He urged Indian companies to take advantage of it and also develop qualitative IT programmes for the domestic market. Transport Minister Kanna Laxminarayana was also present.