Staff Reporter

Kochi: The standoff between a section of passport office employees and the regional passport officer has taken a new turn with the local unit of the All India Passport Employees’ Association (AIPEA) adopting yet another resolution terming the conduct of the head of the office as ‘autocratic’.

The resolution, however, was decried by the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) G. Raveendran as a desperate attempt by the disgruntled employees to save their face in view of his posting out on completion of his tenure.

On April 8, the association’s unit secretary wrote to the all-India general secretary of the association to “intervene and take appropriate action to salvage” the office and employees from damage.

“I came here on a mission in June, 2007 on a two-year tenure,” Mr. Raveendran told The Hindu.

“Now that that period is ending, I am being posted out to Atlanta in the United States. The problem is related to work,” he avers.

Given that the period between April 10 and 19 had too many holidays, on April 8, the RPO appealed to his employees to work on April 13 in lieu of compensatory off at a later date “as a special gesture to the citizens who live in the jurisdiction of this passport office,” but only 10 out of 122 employees expressed their willingness to put in that extra effort for the sake of the public.

Earlier, something similar had taken place in March. March 10 was a declared holiday on account of Id-e-Milad. But a week ahead of that the Coordination Committee of the Central Government Employees had decided to have the holiday on March 9 and the same was notified through the media.

“Counter delivery on around 100 files was marked for March 10, as per the regular practice,” says the RPO. However, only 27 employees turned up for work that day, rues the RPO.