HYDERABAD: In a bid to cut down delays in attestation of certificates/documents of job-seekers/students and others going abroad, an exclusive counter of the External Affairs Ministry was opened by Minister Mohd. Ali Shabbir in the Secretariat on Friday.

While such documents/certificates used to be earlier sent to the Ministry in New Delhi after authentication by the General Administration Department, the counter would serve as a single window system where the attestation by both the GAD and the Ministry would be completed within two days, Mr. Shabbir Ali said.

The counter has been set up following requests by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to the Centre. Persons could submit applications for attestation after duly getting them notarised only when foreign governments insist on it.

The applications could be obtained from the counter at Old Gate or the forms for educational certificates could be downloaded from the Government website, www.aponline.gov.in or www.gad.ap.gov.in.

Mr. Shabbir Ali said all certificates, including marriage and those relating to business, could be submitted for attestation.

Dubai fire accident

Expressing concern over the delay in bringing the bodies of eight Dubai fire accident victims, he said an official of NRI Cell, if necessary, would be sent there to expedite the process. In the wake of amnesty declared by the UAE for illegal immigrants, the Government bore the expenses and brought back 1,241 such immigrants.

Following the sanction of Rs.59.98 lakh to Air India by the Government, the External Affairs Ministry had agreed to release their passports which had been confiscated.

Ravi Shankar Aisola, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, said the counter would benefit about 100 persons daily.