The Regional Passport Office’s initiative to open 28,220 appointments for booking at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday appears to have worked in favour of passport applicants. When The Hindu checked at 8 p.m. there were thousands of appointments available for booking for dates until June 13.

This was in stark contrast to the situation earlier where the 1,660 appointments that would be available each day would be exhausted minutes after they were opened for booking on, said (acting) Passport Officer L. Madan Kumar.

Another intended result of the initiative to release appointments for 17 working days in bulk was that touts were defeated, he said. “Earlier, touts would block the appointments the moment they were opened and later sell them in the black market. Now, there are so many appointments available that they are not able to block them. They know they will not be able to sell so many appointments,” he said.

Mr. Kumar said the Ministry of External Affairs is considering replicating such programmes in other States.

Assuring that the Regional Passport Office will continue its war against touts and passport agents, Mr. Kumar urged the public to make use of BangaloreOne, KarnatakaOne centres to obtain Application Reference Numbers.